With More Columbia Sockeye Than Forecasted Back, Fisheries May Open

Yesterday’s doubling of the sockeye forecast has Washington fishery managers mulling openers on portions of the Columbia River, a “good thing” in a year when angling for the stock was scheduled to stay closed due to a low return.

TYLER FLETCHER SHOWS OFF A PAIR OF SOCKEYE CAUGHT AT WELLS DAM DURING 2014’S FISHERY. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

More definitive details are expected from WDFW tomorrow, but the run has now surpassed the preseason prediction of 99,000.

Thanks to five straight 10,000-plus-fish days, the running tally sits at just under 104,000, with 209,000 red salmon now expected back to the Okanogan/Okanagan River, Wenatchee River, Central Idaho, Deschutes and Yakima.

The lion’s share is likely bound for the Canadian side of the transnational river, and while nothing is set in stone, it’s possible that we could see fisheries from the Brewster and Wells Pools on downstream in the Columbia.

Two sets of five-day-a-week tribal fisheries in the eastern Columbia Gorge pools began last week.

As for whether the popular Lake Wenatchee fishery opens, that is most dependent on passage at Tumwater Dam, where sockeye returns typically peak in mid-July, depending on water temperatures.

Keep an eye on WDFW’s emergency rule-change notices page for the official word.

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