Yesterday saw the highest one-day count of spring Chinook over Bonneville Dam in exactly nine years.
A total of 15,766 springers cruised past the big plug on the Columbia, the most since 20,847 did so on May 1, 2002.
It’s also the sixth best single day count of this millenium.
The 2002 run had two other better days and the 2001 run — the all-time record — had three, including the all-time best day, April 18, when 27,020 went over.
So, what does that mean?
Well, you might do as Spokane angler Chris Donley and and Kennewick’s Jeff Holmes did last weekend and beat feet to Wind and Drano Lake.
Among the 82 PIT-tagged springers that have gone over Bonneville in just the past two days, 52 are returning to the former stream, 16 to the latter trib.
This year’s run has otherwise been tardy, a function of colder than usual water, higher than usual flows, and trends in recent years to later and later returns. But this year’s “appears to be significantly later than normal,” according to a fact sheet put out by Columbia salmon managers last week.
“The run may be weaker than anticipated, or very late, or a combination of both,” said the Columbia Basin Bulletin.
A total of 50,518 have gone over Bonneville so far this year, about half the 10-year average.
The run forecast calls for a total of 198,000 upriver-bound springers back to the mouth of the Columbia. During earlier sport and commercial fisheries between Buoy 10 and Bonneville, somewhere around 7,300 were intercepted and either stuffed in a fish box, scooped up in a gillnet or died from handling.