Columbia salmon managers say around 365,000 fall Chinook will come back to the big river in 2018, a dropoff from last year’s forecast and actual return.
The annual prediction from state, tribal and federal biologists is about half of the average run we’ve seen over the past decade. They say that lingering bad ocean conditions — damn you, Blob! — are probably the reason why.
As for the stock breakdown, as usual the strongest segment will be upriver brights, which spawn in the free-flowing Hanford Reach as well as Snake River and other inland tribs.
A total of 200,100 are predicted, down from last year’s actual run of 297,100 and forecast of 260,000.
Returns of Lower Columbia hatchery stocks are forecast at 62,400, which actually is about where the 2017 run came in, though lower than last year’s predicted 92,400.
Last year’s forecast was for 582,600 fall kings of all stocks, but only 475,900 returned.
The forsoothery builds on the outlook managers put out in December and will be used during the North of Falcon salmon-season-setting process for all of Washington and northern Oregon.