An outlandish number of sockeye surged through Bonneville yesterday, some 53,738, but the question is, is that the new record for the lowest dam on the Columbia River?
On paper it is a staggering 12,000 more fish than the old high mark, June 26, 2012’s 41,573, but Monday’s count still has yet to be posted by the Fish Passage Center and with the way this year’s run is coming in, who knows.
The scuttle around the missing numbers is that they are under review. FPC posts the data which is collected via video at the Army Corps of Engineers’ fish ladder by Four Peaks, a contractor.
The review apparently has more to do with shad and steelhead. The June 26 count lists an anomalously high 1,595 summer-runs at Bonneville, unusual at this point of the return in what is expected to be a down year.
But summer Chinook counts are surging as well, with 5,246 at the dam yesterday.
Ocean conditions in recent years appear to have really boosted survival. Most of these sockeye and Chinook will return to Upper Columbia streams, but a few of the former stock will turn off at the Snake for Idaho.
In response to those strong salmon runs, the U.S. v. Oregon Technical Advisory Committee on Monday raised the sockeye forecast from 198,000 to 426,000 and the summer king prediction from 56,300 to 66,800.
Tomorrow morning the DFWs will hold a Columbia River Compact call tomorrow to consider recreational fisheries.
Meanwhile, I’ll refresh the FPC Daily Passage Report another 53,000 times today in eager anticipation of learning Monday’s numbers!