More 2023 salmon forecasts are coming out as state managers are predicting a preharvest ocean abundance of 1.135 million Oregon Coast- and Columbia-bound coho.
That’s down somewhat from 2022’s preseason estimate of 1.226 million silvers and 2021’s bonkers 1.732 million.
Both those forecasts were off in the final analysis, but last year’s less so than the previous one, which missed the mark by 662,000.
Still, 2023’s fish break down thusly: 481,800 Columbia River early coho, 404,300 Columbia River late coho, 226,300 Oregon Coast natural-origin river coho and 12,500 Oregon Coast natural-origin lake coho, among others.
The figures come from a Columbia River Recreational Advisor Group Meeting packet that was posted on WDFW’s website for a meeting today.
The packet also states that there are 6,487 upper Columbia-Snake springer mortalities available below Bonneville, 927 from the dam to Washington-Oregon border, and 669 in the Snake. That’s given the forecast of 198,600 upriver fish, 30 percent runsize buffer and 1.6 percent ESA limit, prior to mid-May’s return update.
It means there are 3,253 more springers available overall than last year, including 2,893 more in the Lower Columbia, where there are also enough spring salmon returning to the Cowlitz, Kalama, Lewis and Sandy Rivers that there shouldn’t be any mainstem bubble closures as seen in the past.
Initial modeling suggests there are forecast to be enough spring Chinook for seven-day-a-week fishing up to Bonneville through April 7, but that’s a decision still to be made after consultations with recreational advisors and ODFW and WDFW Columbia managers meet later this month.
Adding in expected Willamette and CKLS springers, the 2023 overall mainstem Lower Columbia catch is expected to yield 7,766 keeper kings.