Dam King Count Jumps 7,700

Ummm, just in case you weren’t among those 1,500 boats off Vancouver last Saturday, or haven’t slapped one of the 18,714 Columbia springers caught through April 11 on your grill, or still need some sort of official confirmation that the salmon are in, they’re officially in.

Yesterday’s dam count at Bonneville was 7,719, the biggest day of the year, and the biggest one-day springer tally since May 4, 2008.

After a slow start, the run is quickly catching up to the 10-year average. A total of 23,106 Chinook have gone over so far this year, 67 percent of the 34,537 that have passed the dam through tax day over the past decade.

As recently as March 31, only 14 percent of the 10-year average had passed the dam.

The forecast calls for around 470,000 upriver springers this year. Managers huddled Wednesday after the sport catch blew through the roof last week, but decided to keep the river below I-5 open through the regularly scheduled close of season, this Sunday, even though it was likely that the catch guideline for upriver-bound kings would be broken.

This morning, my Southwest Washington spy reports that yesterday’s score at the Kalama Marina at 3 p.m. was 51 boats with 52 springers, and he says his girlfriend spotted something like 100 boats waiting to launch out of Goble this morning.

That usually reliably on his post font of all things Columbia springerific, Joe Hymer, has abandoned his Vancouver office this morning and is probably amongst the madness somewhere on the lower river, perhaps menacing the sea lions with his fish bonker, cursing the sluggards at the launch line or racing to the top of the drift for another downhill run.

Fishing should pick up upstream too. Detail from the dam count through yesterday indicates that at least 193 PIT-tagged springers headed for Rapid River in Central Idaho have gone over Bonneville, 41 to Wind River, 34 to Catherine Creek on the Grande Ronde, 26 to Drano, 24 to the Clearwater and 23 to Icicle. Hatchery managers place passive-integrated transponders in the heads of a portion of their juvenile salmon and can track their movement via arrays set up at select dams and hatchery wiers.

Earlier this week, WDFW and ODFW announced Snake River system opening dates.


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