Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Thermal block holding steelhead in Columbia

(Update as of 8 pm 8/16/12)  The steelhead numbers continue to be totally dismal across Ice Harbor Dam.  Steelhead at about 80 percent less than the 10-year average and wild steelhead numbers aren't much better--perhaps 30% of the 10-year average.
A small water temperature difference is a big deal to migrating steelhead.

Click here to read the full story.

Fall steelhead are currently chillin' in Lake Wallula waiting for the Columbia River's water temperature to match the Snake River below Ice Harbor Dam.

Steelhead passage numbers through Ice Harbor are a fraction of those through nearby McNary. Click here for our "longread" on the subject. It's complete with lots of graphics. We plan to update this story daily so check back often.

(We're reorganizing how we present fishing news--click here to read our explanation about the new format.)

1 comment:

John Parsons said...

(NOTE: This comment was posted on The Big Fish Tackle Forum ( by "Got-Bait" We really appreciated the time and thought he put into the comment so we are reposting it here.
-----AUgust 9, 2012 From BFT-------
As always, that is a tremdous compilation of data, and graphics John! I always enjoy your analysis as well as those included. Thanks for all the time and trouble you went through to produce that, and share it with us. However, I am not as optomistic.

Since I started steelheading back in the Spring of '96 (summer '95 steelhead run), there have only been 3-7 years (depending on which dam you look at) that have looked worse than this. Both the total dam passage as well as the respective Salmon/Clearwater PIT tags look pretty bad to me. Water temps are always an issue this time of year during the steelhead run, and the fish always find their spots to hold up in the Lower Columbia and wait for that warm water to subside before making their big push into the Snake and over LG.

Its the Bonneville numbers that are most troubling to me. I only hope that their "thermal block" has been delaying passage at Bonne to boot. Hate to be a Debbie-downer, but when I look at an article like that, the headline looks more to me like "Don't Not Buy a Fishing License and Steelhead Permit."

Since I live right on the border, I buy a nonres season combo license, S&S tags, and make several trips every year regardless, so it doesn't affect those decisions for me either way. But it doesn't take too much of a mental giant to see that they have taken more of a selling-a-product approach to informing us about the state of our anadromous fisheries in recent years, and consequently, seem to be able to put a positive spin on anything.

Oh, I should probably add the disclaimer that my intent here is not to criticize you John, or anything you said. I am primarily referring to the officials that were quoted. Like I said, I think it's great of you to gather and synthesize all of that information from various sources, and share it with the group. I'm sure everybody will interpret it in slighlty different ways.