All posts by Andy Walgamott

WA Ocean Salmon Fishing Report (8-16-17)

THE FOLLOWING REPORT IS FROM WENDY BEEGHLEY, WDFW

Columbia Ocean Area (including Oregon)

A total of 7,052 anglers participated in the all-species salmon fishery August 7-13, landing 1,667 Chinook and 5,578 coho.  Through August 13, a cumulative total of 5,747 Chinook (44% of the area guideline) and 16,581 coho (79% of the area sub-quota) have been landed.

 

Westport

 

A total of 4,339 anglers participated in the all-species salmon fishery August 7-13, landing 796 Chinook and 2,995 coho.  Through August 13, a cumulative total of 5,828 Chinook (27% of the area guideline) and 13,766 coho (76% of the revised area sub-quota) have been landed.

La Push

A total of 287 anglers participated in the all-species salmon fishery August 7-13, landing 78 Chinook and 369 coho.  Through August 13, a cumulative total of 337 Chinook (14% of the area guideline) and 763 coho (70% of the area sub-quota) have been landed.

Neah Bay

A total of 476 anglers participated in the all-species salmon fishery August 7-13, landing 273 Chinook and 167 coho.  Through August 13, a cumulative total of 7,116 Chinook (90% of the area guideline) and 2,378 coho (54% of the area sub-quota) have been landed.

 

With Another Depredation, ODFW To Remove 2 More Harl Butte Wolves

THE FOLLOWING IS A NEWS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Today, ODFW confirmed another depredation by the Harl Butte wolf pack. ODFW intends to remove an additional two uncollared wolves (not pups) from this pack to limit further livestock losses.

AN ODFW MAP SHOWS THE AREA OF NORTHEAST OREGON WHERE THE HARL BUTTE PACK RESIDES. (ODFW)

Note the Harl Butte wolf pack is larger than originally estimated. ODFW has found evidence of at least eight wolves remaining in this pack, not including three pups.

Two weeks have passed since ODFW first announced plans to lethally remove wolves from the Harl Butte wolf pack due to chronic depredation. ODFW removed two non-breeding members of the Harl Butte wolf pack last week.  (One 33-pound wolf pup of the year was unintentionally captured and released.)

During the past two weeks, the radio-collared wolf in the pack, the breeding male, has been monitored closely to determine if he and other members of the pack altered their behavior and location. Removal of the two wolves, increased human presence in this area and continued use of non-lethal deterrents by livestock producers did not result in a significant change in the pack’s behavior.

ODFW will continue to monitor the effectiveness of this next removal and  livestock producers will continue non-lethal deterrents including daily human presence, removal of any potential attractants, and hazing.

Lower Columbia, Buoy 10, Gorge Pools Fishing Report (8-16-17)

THE FOLLOWING MATERIAL ORIGINATED FROM TANNA TAKATA, ODFW, AND WAS TRANSMITTED BY JOE HYMER, PSMFC

Salmon, Steelhead and Shad

Eight hundred twenty-six Oregon boats were counted at Buoy 10 this past weekend.  Anglers at Buoy 10 averaged 2.24 Chinook and 0.19 coho caught per boat.  In Troutdale, boat anglers averaged 0.07 steelhead caught per boat, while anglers fishing in the Portland to Tongue Point area averaged 0.47 Chinook and 0.28 steelhead caught per boat.  Bank anglers fishing in the gorge averaged 0.13 Chinook caught per angler.

A MULKEY SPINNER TROLLED BEHIND A FISH FLASH DURING THE FLOOD TIDE ABOVE THE BRIDGE YIELDED THIS FINE FALL CHINOOK FOR BUZZ RAMSEY. (BUZZ RAMSEY)

Gorge Bank: Weekend checking showed two Chinook adults kept for 16 bank anglers.

Gorge Boats: Weekend checking showed no catch for two boats (five anglers).

Troutdale Boats: Weekend checking showed one steelhead released for 15 boats (28 anglers).

Portland to Westport Bank: Weekend checking showed no catch for 14 bank anglers.

Portland to Tongue Point Boats: Weekend checking showed 34 Chinook adults and three Chinook jacks kept, plus one Chinook adult, one Chinook jack and 21 steelhead released for 75 boats (178 anglers).

Estuary Boats (Tongue Point to Buoy 10): Weekend checking showed 535 Chinook adults and 29 coho adults kept, plus 129 Chinook, 27 coho and one steelhead released for 297 boats (1,013 anglers).

Bonneville Pool (Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam): Weekly checking showed no catch for one bank angler; and one steelhead released for five boats (10 anglers); and no shad catch for two bank anglers.

The Dalles Pool (The Dalles Dam upstream to John Day Dam): Weekly checking showed eight Chinook adults kept for one boat (five anglers).

John Day Pool (John Day Dam upstream to McNary Dam): Weekly checking showed two shad kept, plus 20 shad released for three boats (eight anglers).

STURGEON

Lower Columbia River (below Bonneville Dam): Closed for retention. Weekend checking showed four sublegal and three legal white sturgeon released for two boats (three anglers).

Bonneville Pool: Weekly checking showed no catch for six bank anglers; and seven sublegal, two legal and three oversize white sturgeon released for two boats (four anglers).

The Dalles Pool: Weekly checking showed four oversize sturgeon released for one boat (three anglers).

John Day Pool: No report.

WALLEYE

Gorge:  No report.

Troutdale: Weekend checking showed one walleye kept, plus one walleye released for seven boats (14 anglers).

Portland to Tongue Point:  Weekend checking showed four walleye kept for three boats (five anglers).

The Dalles Pool: Weekly checking showed 36 walleye kept for eight boats (14 anglers).

John Day Pool: No report.

4 Wells Hatchery Workers Fired Following Investigation Into Activities

A high-ranking state lawmaker and a Fish and Wildlife Commissioner are calling for changes within WDFW after reports surfaced that a highly sexualized culture also existed at an Eastern Washington hatchery, where four workers were fired last week.

Two stories out this morning paint an ugly picture of goings-on at the Wells Hatchery on the Upper Columbia, where the manager and three top hatchery specialists allegedly “routinely talked about sex and asked explicit sexual questions of coworkers” and made remarks about “the bodies of women who visited the hatchery.”

The pieces are reported by Walker Orenstein of The News Tribune of Tacoma and Austin Jenkins of the Northwest News Network.

They’re based on a 30-page report by Daphne R. Schneider and Associates commissioned this March after workers at a nearby hatchery expressed their concerns about alleged behavior at Wells to a WDFW officer.

Northwest Sportsman has filed a public disclosure request for the document, but in the meanwhile the reporters’ articles paint a picture of both the alleged activities and the workers’ defense.

The four men who were fired passed their conversations off as “locker room talk,” but it was allegedly so bad for one coworker that she left for a position elsewhere.

WDFW said that it is not pursuing criminal charges against the quartet “because their misconduct did not appear to rise to that level, agency spokesman Bruce Botka said. Also, the consulting firm did not conclude anyone had been sexually harassed,” Orenstein reported.

They can appeal their removal.

For WDFW, the latest story is effectively a one-two punch.

Early last week, Orenstein and Jenkins reported about a law firm’s investigation of sexual harassment claims at the agency’s Olympia headquarters.

Afterwards, Botka told Northwest Sportsman that “Director Jim Unsworth again today said he has no tolerance for the sorts of allegations that have surfaced in these stories and in this case.”

JIM UNSWORTH. (WDFW)

This latest incident left Unsworth “startled and taken aback” and he felt that the firing of the four would send a strong message throughout WDFW’s 1,500-plus employees.

Certainly, a problem was identified, investigated and action was taken, but some are calling for even more.

Rep. Brian Blake, the chairman of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, which many WDFW-related bills go through, called on WDFW’s overseers to put their foot down.

REP. BRIAN BLAKE, D-ABERDEEN. (TVW)

“The [Fish and Wildlife] Commission who governs this agency needs to step up and through the director communicate very strongly that there needs to be somebody in charge that does have this expertise in the ability to change cultures,” Blake told the newspaper and radio reporters.

One of those members, Commissioner Barbara Baker, who was appointed earlier this year by Governor Jay Inslee, said that even more stringent training is needed, it was reported.

IN THIS TVW SCREENGRAB, WASHINGTON FISH AND WILDLIFE COMMISSIONER BARBARA BAKER SPEAKS BEFORE THE SENATE NATURAL RESOURCES AND PARKS COMMITTEE PUBLIC HEARING ON HER APPOINTMENT TO THE PANEL, SET TO RUN AT LEAST THROUGH 2022. (TVW)

Wells Hatchery is owned by Douglas County PUD and operated by WDFW. It rears hundreds of thousands of summer steelhead, summer Chinook, trout and kokanee for fisheries, as well as sturgeon for conservation programs.

Troublingly, Jenkins’s report mentions possible misuse of state equipment by the former manager, while Orenstein’s article says that the WDFW officer’s initial report suggested hatchery workers had been “coached to provide false numbers for fish stocking records.”

This is not the first time WDFW hatcheries have been in the news for sex-related activities.

In 2012,  Carl E. Jouper, the former manager of the George Adams Hatchery in Mason County, was jailed for 90 days after pleading guilty to voyeurism, putting a camera in the women’s bathroom there.

ODFW Opens 2 New Ranges For PDX, Junction City-area Archers

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

It’s even easier to practice the ancient sport of archery in Oregon. ODFW recently opened two new public archery ranges: one in Hillsboro at the Portland Community College Rock Creek Campus and another in Junction City next to ODFW’s fishing pond.

AN ELEVATED STAND AT THE EE WILSON ARCHERY PARK WILL HELP BOWMEN PRACTICE TAKE SHOTS FROM TREESTANDS. (SHAWN WOODS)

The department also recently added an elevated shooting platform at its EE Wilson Wildlife Area range near Corvallis.

The range in Hillsboro was developed in partnership with the Tualatin Hills Parks & Recreation District with help from the Black Rose Traditional Archers. It’s located at 17705 NW Springville Road (at PCC’s Rock Creek campus complex) and includes 10 targets from 10 yards to 60 yards. The range is free to use and open to everyone, though people need to bring their own archery equipment. Parking may be limited without a PCC parking pass.

TWO ARCHERS PRACTICE AT THE TUALATIN PARKS AND RECREATION DISTRICT’S NEW RANGE IN HILLSBORO, AT THE PORTLAND COMMUNITY COLLEGE’S ROCK CREEK COMPLEX. (CHRIS WILLARD)

The second range is the Junction City Archery Park located at 92430 Hwy 99N, right next to ODFW’s popular fishing pond. This is a family-friendly range which includes a youth range with eight targets and another general target range with 16 targets. All shooting lines are covered, so practice in rain or shine. There is also a large covered area to accommodate groups. The range is free to use and open to everyone, though people need to bring their own archery equipment.

Finally, ODFW recently completed an elevated shooting platform at its EE Wilson Archery Park to help bowhunters practice simulated treestand shots. Archers who want to use the platform need to bring their own appropriate safety harness and can clip to one of three straps/cables available. Thanks to Oregon Wildlife, Oregon Bowhunters, Traditional Archers of Oregon, Oregon Hunters Association and Archer’s Afield for help developing this new feature.

IDFG Closes Steelhead Retention Due To Very Low Run, But Keeps C&R Op Open

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME

An extremely small number of steelhead returning to Idaho so far has prompted Fish and Game to reduce the bag limit on adipose-clipped hatchery steelhead to zero – closing all rivers to harvest for the fall steelhead season.

Through Aug. 14, about 400 steelhead have crossed Lower Granite Dam about 30 miles downstream from Lewiston. The 10-year average for that date is about 6,000 steelhead.  Regardless of the size of the hatchery return, anglers have been required to release any wild fish caught since 1987. Catch and release of wild fish is an important conservation tool to protect them, and it continues this year.

AN IDFG GRAPH SHOWS HOW THIS YEAR’S STEELHEAD RUN COMPARES TO PAST ONES. (IDFG)

Closing harvest of hatchery steelhead while leaving it open for catch-and-release fishing will also help ensure enough broodstock return to steelhead hatcheries to produce the next generation of fish.

Although only a fraction of the steelhead run has crossed Lower Granite Dam, fisheries managers are tracking the run as it moves upstream.

Historic run data shows that by Aug. 15, about half of the fish should have already crossed Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, which is the first dam where the fish are counted. Through Aug. 14, only 3,900 Idaho steelhead have crossed Bonneville.

Fisheries managers are carefully watching steelhead returns, and if there’s an unexpected increase, harvest can be reopened, but at this point, that’s very unlikely. Washington and Oregon have also restricted steelhead harvest for anglers in the Columbia River to protect Idaho-bound fish.

“We realize steelhead anglers will be disappointed, and many will choose not to fish this fall as a result of the decision to close harvest,” said Lance Hebdon, Fish and Game’s anadromous fish manager. “We will continue to monitor hatchery and wild steelhead returns as the run continues to determine if changes are needed.”

Fisheries managers say they’re aware some people are concerned about the possible effects of allowing catch-and-release angling on a small return.

“Based on our experience, catch-and-release fishing has proven to be an effective conservation tool, and we’ve been able to allow it in the past while still protecting a below-average return of wild fish,” Hebdon said. “We realize that catch and release is not zero-impact, but it is very low impact. With the expected reduction in angler participation, we are confident that the protection is there. We have documented populations rebounding even with a limited number of spawners.”

Every year’s run of adults is produced by at least two years of outmigrating young fish, which provide a buffer during years of poor returns.

Fish managers know that fewer people fish for steelhead when the run is small, and even fewer will fish because harvest is not allowed. But it’s important that anglers practicing catch-and-release treat all steelhead with care and release them with minimal handling. Here are some tips for properly releasing fish unharmed.

Idaho’s steelhead runs typically fluctuate from year to year, but what makes this year unusual is an exceptionally small hatchery return at the same time as a small wild run. The 1996 steelhead run, for example, had only 7,600 wild fish, but they combined with 79,000 hatchery fish.

Fish and Game has only closed all steelhead fishing (harvest and catch and release) once in the last 43 years. Harvest restrictions and length limits have been implemented in the past for the Clearwater River, Snake and Salmon rivers to adjust for low returns.

Fisheries managers are hoping this is a short-term situation. All salmon and steelhead runs to Idaho this year have been below average, and small runs were forecasted based on early indicators last year.

Portions of this steelhead run migrated to the Pacific in 2015, which was a low-water year with early hot weather that produced hazardous river conditions for young fish leaving Idaho. Ocean productivity was also poor that year, which persisted in 2016, and made conditions even more difficult for fish.

While closing the harvest for adipose-clipped steelhead could put a damper on fall fisheries, an abundant run of fall chinook returning to Idaho will provide some good fishing opportunity. The forecast is for 27,000 chinook, and those fish are now arriving.

Fall chinook fishing season opens on Aug. 18, and anglers can harvest six adult chinook daily, and there’s no bag limit on “jack” fall chinook smaller than 24 inches. Here is the full rules and seasons brochure.

Salmon and steelhead runs tend to be cyclical, and to learn why things are likely to improve next year, read F&G wild salmon and steelhead coordinator Tim Copeland’s article about early signs pointing to improvement.

Good News For Early Season NW Duck Hunters In Annual Survey

Silver lining to all of last winter and spring’s rain? Plenty of water for waterfowl to do their thing — and boy howdy did they ever.

Nearly twice as many ducks were counted in Washington compared to last year, according to a federal survey released today.

WATERFOWLERS LIKE LES CUMMINGS AND LES LOGSDON SHOULD SEE MORE MALLARDS AND WOODS DUCKS THIS FALL, THANKS TO STELLAR PRODUCTION IN WASHINGTON AND LIKELY GOOD PRODUCTION IN OREGON. THE DUO LIMITED AT THE BARKER RANCH NEAR RICHLAND EARLY LAST FALL WHILE PARTICIPATING IN A DISABLED VETERANS HUNT PUT ON THERE EACH OCTOBER. (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST)

That’s good news for hunting in the early season, which is typically fueled by local production until migrating northern birds arrive.

“In Washington the total duck estimate was 99% higher than the 2016 estimate, and 44% above the long-term average (2010–2016),” reports the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

They may not have the bright-orange legs of their Alberta brethren, but Evergreen State mallards did well, up 72 percent over last year and 29 percent above the 1978-2016 average, USFWS adds.

To the south, Oregon’s 2017 total duck and mallard estimates were similar to 2016 and the long-term average, though greenheads were down 21 percent over the long haul.

But there may not really be any reason for Beaver State waterfowlers to get their waders in a bunch over that.

For our September issue’s fall flight forecast, MD Johnson interviewed ODFW’s duck boss Brandon Rieshus.

“Normally, we count the best of the best – the Willamette Valley and the wetlands in Eastern Oregon – as examples. Maybe the birds were scattered across the basin in places we don’t count. But from a habitat standpoint, it looked very good. The best it’s been in four or five years. (My guess is) production will be pretty good,” Rieshus told Johnson.

The USFWS report backs that notion.

“Habitat conditions in Oregon were much improved relative to the past several years and were good to excellent in all surveyed areas. Some areas of southcentral and southeastern Oregon had basins and playas with water for the first time in a decade or more. Many playas and dugout ponds throughout the High Desert were flooded as well,” the agency stated.

It was even wetter to the north.

“In Washington, overall water availability was the among wettest seen in 20 years according to state wildlife area staff and others, particularly through the Potholes and Channeled Scablands region, where potholes and ponds were plentiful. Reservoirs throughout east­ern Washington were at or above 100% capacity with associated flooding of fields and pastures. In early May, significant snowmelt runoff was still occurring throughout the Okanogan and Northeast Highlands,” USFWS reported.

A U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY MAP FOR WASHINGTON STREAM FLOWS SHOWS THAT CREEKS AND RIVERS IN EASTERN WASHINGTON STILL RUNNING AT ABOVE NORMAL LEVELS, INCLUDING CRAB CREEK, AND THE PALOUSE AND WALLA WALLA RIVERS. (USGS)

In terms of hard numbers, Washington’s mallard population was estimated at 103,400, well above 2016’s 60,000 (overall ducks: 242,000 vs. 121,500.

Oregon’s duck population was 239,900, up from last year’s 213,600.

Looking across the rest of North America, Ducks Unlimited reports that the overall estimate of 47.3 million breeding ducks in traditional survey zones is less than a million birds below 2016’s count, but still 34 percent above the 60-year average.

While mallards are down 11.3 percent, DU points to dry conditions in the Canadians “Parklands” of southern Alberta and Saskatchewan.

 

New Procedure For Bringing Canadian-side Salmon Back To Sekiu, PA

Biggest misnomer in Northwest salmon fishing this season?

That Sekiu’s closed for coho.

While US waters are indeed off limits in September and October, not so the Canadian side of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, making this über-fishy port a prime jumping-off point for intercepting silvers heading for Puget Sound and southwest British Columbia rivers.

YOU MIGHT SET A COURSE FOR SEKIU AFTER ALL THIS SEASON — RULES HAVE BEEN AMENDED TO MAKE IT EASIER TO LAND STATESIDE WITH SALMON CAUGHT IN CANADIAN WATERS. (NOAA)

Yes, you’ll have to bone up on the brand-spankin’ new rules for bringing fish back from the Great White North’s waters — and yes it’ll be worth it, thanks to a bigger forecast than 2016 when it was “on fire.”

Mark Yuasa, formerly of The Seattle Times, makes his debut in our pages with a September issue piece about heading Strait across for silvers.

“There isn’t a reason to say the town of Sekiu is closed while salmon fishing is thriving in Canada, and it’s so easy for an angler to still get out and fish,” Brandon Mason, owner of Mason’s Olson Resort (olsons-resort.com) in Sekiu, told Yuasa. “By boat it’s a short 7-mile (25- to 30-minute) ride to find some great fishing opportunities.”

In the lead-up to the fishery, WDFW has just issued an emergency rule-change notice that updates how to bring salmon landed in BC back to Sekiu.

To wit:

Amends Canadian-origin salmon transportation rule

Action: Changes the method for obtaining clearance for transporting Canadian-caught salmon into Washington waters from a Canadian phone line to an online form available on WDFW’s website.

Effective Date:  Effective 12:01 a.m., Aug. 16, until further notice.

Species affected: Salmon.

Location: Washington marine areas.

Reason for action: Canadian Customs and Border Security regulations related to requirement for obtaining a customs clearance number have recently changed. This regulation is needed to provide an alternate means for persons seeking to possess and/or land Canadian caught fish in Washington waters or ports of call.

Other information: Visit http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/canadian_catch.php to obtain a confirmation code. The form requests basic trip and contact information from the party leader that must be submitted prior to leaving Washington with the intent of fishing for salmon in Canada. The party leader will receive an email from WDFW with your confirmation code.

Information contact: Fish Program: Ryan Lothrop, (360) 902-2808; Enforcement Program: Dan Chadwick, 360-249-4628, ex 1253.

SW WA, Lower Columbia Fishing Report (8-14-17)

THE FOLLOWING MATERIAL WAS GATHERED BY WDFW AND TRANSMITTED BY JOE HYMER, PSMFC

Cowlitz River – I-5 Bridge downstream:  12 bank rods released 1 adult Chinook.  2 boats/6 rods had no catch.  Above the I-5 Bridge:  71 bank rods kept 6 adult Chinook and 5 steelhead and released 4 adult Chinook.  23 boats/65 boat rods kept 24 steelhead and 1 cutthroat and released 1 jack Chinook, 4 steelhead, and 2 cutthroats.

A HERRING BEHIND A FISH FLASH WORKED OUT WELL FOR CHRIS SESSIONS WHILE FISHING AT BUOY 10 RECENTLY. (VIA BUZZ RAMSEY)

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 140 spring Chinook adults, seven spring Chinook jacks, three spring Chinook mini-jacks, 104 summer-run steelhead, five fall Chinook adults and one cutthroat trout during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released 26 spring Chinook adults and one spring Chinook jack into the Cispus River near the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek and they released 107 spring Chinook adults and five spring Chinook jacks at Franklin Bridge in Packwood.

Tacoma Power released five fall Chinook adults into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 2,640 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, Aug. 14. Water visibility is 13 feet and water temperature is 54.7 degrees F.

Drano Lake – 48 boat anglers kept 17 adult and 3 jack Chinook and released 8 hatchery and 14 wild steelhead.  Between 4 and 10 boats here last weekday mornings.

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – Last week we sampled 594 salmonid anglers (including 173 boats) with 22 adult and 4 jack fall Chinook, 18 steelhead but no coho.  All of the adult Chinook were kept. All of the steelhead were released as required.  13 of the fish were wild, 5 hatchery, and 0 unknown origin.

Bonneville Pool – 1 boat/4 anglers kept 2 adult Chinook.

Sturgeon

Lower Columbia mainstem from the Marker 82 line downstream – Last week we sampled 33 sturgeon anglers (including 12 boats) with 16 legals released.

Walleye

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – In the Camas/Washougal area we sampled 17 walleye anglers (11 boats) kept 7 fish and released 9.

Trout

Recent plant of rainbows (including some 4 pounders) SW WA waters.  No report on angling success.

Lake/Pond
Date
Species
Number
Fish per Pound
Hatchery
Notes

TAKHLAKH LK (SKAM)<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=TAKHLAKH+LK+%28SKAM%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Skamania County – Region 5
Aug 07, 2017
Rainbow
218
0.25
GOLDENDALE HATCHERY

Also, Tacoma Power released 3,420 rainbow trout into Mayfield Lake this past week.

Today’s A-run Summer Steelhead Update Is An F-

Brutal new forecast just out for A-run steelhead heading to Columbia Basin tribs: Managers now expect just 54,000 this year.

That’s less than half of the preseason forecast, it’s a fraction of the 10-year average and represents the fewest by a long shot since records for the stock began nearly five decades ago.

A FISH PASSAGE CENTER GRAPH SHOWS THE WOEFUL PROGRESS OF THE 2017 STEELHEAD RUN AT BONNEVILLE DAM, THE BULK OF WHICH SO FAR HAS BEEN A-RUN FISH HEADED TO NORTH-CENTRAL WASHINGTON, CENTRAL IDAHO AND NORTHEAST OREGON STREAMS. (FISH PASSAGE CENTER)

Just 33,000 hatchery and 21,000 hatchery and wild A-runs are now predicted at Bonneville Dam, according to the Technical Advisory Committee, down from the 79,100 and 33,000 initially forecast.

TAC didn’t update the B-run prediction, as those steelhead bound for Idaho tend to come in later. Still, only 1,100 wild Bs are forecast and that triggered a number of fishery restrictions this month and next.

It’s possible the revised A-run forecast could lead to actions to protect that stock, but that’s up to fishery managers.

The updated runsize is the lowest back to 1969, when records began. According to WDFW data, the next worst run of hatchery and wild A-run steelhead is 1994, when 120,971 were counted at Bonneville.

The high mark occurred in 2009, which saw over 545,000.

Managers say this year’s A-runs did very poorly in the ocean last year.

Monitoring the dam counts, daily tallies have been vacillating between 10 and 50 percent of the 10-year average since the summer counting period began July 1, but the overall count is just 21 percent of the decade-long average.

That was a hint that a jarring runsize update might be in the offing, though water temperatures at Bonneville have also been high.

Last Thursday’s reading at the forebay was just under 73.8 degrees Fahrenheit, what might be the second highest reading back through at least 2000 and 4 degrees warmer than the 10-year average for the date.

Hot water creates a thermal block that retards fish passage until rain or clouds cools it off, sometimes leading to a big pulse of steelhead and salmon.

But with today’s update, it appears that managers don’t expect much of one with this year’s steelhead run.