Record Sockeye Run Now Forecasted

Columbia River salmon managers are now forecasting 2010’s sockeye run at three times the preseason prediction, which if it comes in, would be an all-time record back to 1938.

“The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) updated the sockeye run to 375,000 fish at the Columbia River mouth,” reads an email this afternoon from Joe Hymer, a fisheries biologist in Vancouver. “This will be a record run size.”

As of yesterday, a total of 286,706 sockeye had crossed Bonneville Dam, the most ever counted at that point 144 miles above the mouth, according to data from the Fish Passage Center.

However, the record overall return to the Columbia is 1947’s 335,300, which was given a severe whack by downstream fisheries before it reached the dam.

As dam counts mounted a week ago, Washington and Oregon upped the preseason forecast to 250,000 and began announcing fishery opening on the Lower, Mid and Upper Columbia.

While catch expectations are low, Julian Zirkle at Fisherman’s Marine had some advice for how to slay sox on the lower river: “I’d say stay in close, use bright colors and smaller Spin-N-Glos.”

As for a Lake Wenatchee fishery, earlier this week, a WDFW manager said he was not in a gambling mood.

Hymer notes that the summer Chinook run has been slightly downgraded to 82,000, from 88,000, to the mouth of the Columbia.

Meanwhile, large numbers of summer steelhead are crossing Bonneville, 31,352 through yesterday, over 13,300 above the 10-year average and nearly 20,000 above last year’s whopper run.

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