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Wild Steelhead Return
Exceeded Expectations

by Roger Phillips
Clearwater Tribune, August 22, 2018

Graphic: Snake River Steelhead populations are in steep decline.  NOAA Fisheries' Adaptive Management Implementation Plan includes an Early Warning Indicator that has now been tripped, but NOAA Fisheries is remaining silent on that for now. Last year's Idaho steelhead run received a lot of attention for the wrong reason. It was a low run year, and Fish and Game biologists did not initially see as many fish back as they would have liked, but they were pleasantly surprised in the spring.

The wild run of large fish known as "B-runs" destined for the upper Clearwater, Middle Fork and South Fork of the Salmon Rivers received even more attention because of a very low return based on window counts at dams as steelhead migrated up the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

The low return focused the attention and concerns of fisheries managers and anglers alike. But data from last fall also suggested the return of wild "B-runs" wasn't as low as window counts estimated, and information gathered during spring in spawning streams confirmed it. The run wasn't great by any stretch, but not catastrophic, either.

The actual spawners in wild B-run drainages exceeded a thousand fish despite dam counts showing less than 500.

Related Pages:
Reasons for Diminishing Wild B-run Steelhead Returns Come into Focus by Eric Barker,Lewiston Tribune, 7/14/18
600,000 Chinook Fry Lost, 1.4 Million Juvenile Steelhead in Peril in North Idaho by Chadd Cripe, Idaho Statesman, 3/21/17

Roger Phillips
Wild Steelhead Return Exceeded Expectations
Clearwater Tribune, August 22, 2018

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