I’m still rubbing the weekend out of my eyes, but it appears that 2015 has set a new record for Columbia kings at Bonneville.
As of Sunday, Sept. 27, a total of 1,204,410 spring, summer and fall Chinook have been counted at the dam, topping 2014’s 1,152,643 and 2013’s 1,129,664.
And with daily tallies still over 10,000, it’s likely this year will stretch its lead even further. Salmon have been counted at the dam since 1938.
The bulk of this year’s overall return is comprised of fall stocks — 822,195 since Aug. 1 — but the summer run was a healthy 161,735 and springers comprised 220,250 of the total.
As you can imagine, fishing’s been great too:
* Over 40,000 kings have been harvested off the Washington Coast and Oregon north of Cape Falcon;
* Around 35,000 Chinook were expected to have been landed at the Buoy 10 fishery in August before it closed to king retention;
* As of Sept. 22, over 28,000 fall kings had been caught between Bonneville and Astoria, second most to 2013, and the haul of 9,080 there in August was also second only to two years ago;
* Early and mid-September provided record weekly catches to Hanford Reach fishermen;
* The 5,928 summer kings landed in the lower river was a record that goes back to 1965;
* And the 4,853 springers caught in May below Bonneville was also tops back to 1969.
These are the good ol’ days for Chinook, ladies and gentlemen.