Back-to-back Record Daily Shad Counts At Bonneville
Friday and Saturday saw all-time record shad counts at Bonneville as 570,329 and then 588,969 went past the counting window, according to data posted on Fish Passage Center and Columbia Basin Research.
Both tallies are well in excess of the old high mark, 520,664, on June 6, 2003, bringing the count for the year to 4,356,046.
The spawning run up the Columbia typically lasts into July before petering out.
Shad are not native to the Northwest, but made their way here from the Sacramento River system, where they were introduced from the East Coast.
Not much is really known about them, but the past two years have seen record runs, 6,059,933 in 2018 and 7,459,145 last year. At the same time, Columbia salmon and steelhead runs have been depressed, though probably not because of interspecies competition, rather, ocean conditions that are benefitting shad but penalizing Northwest salmonids.
Shad are fished for from the bank and boats from the Lower Columbia up through the gorge pools and beyond.
Even as many go through the fish ladders and past the Army Corps of Engineers’ counting window, shad can also swim up the locks and not be counted.
The Corps has previously estimated that as many as 10 million annually enter the mouth of the Columbia; some of those turn up the Willamette to spawn.
Also of note, the sockeye count at Bonneville is looking good as that run builds toward its typical peak in the coming days. A total of 61,530 have gone through so far on their way primarily to the Okanogan and Wenatchee, but also a few to Central Idaho.