Monday, June 24, 2013

Chinook Salmon Return update

Although the numbers of chinook trapped at the IDFG Hatchery near Stanley are approaching 500, chances remain slim for a chinook salmon fishing season.

IDFG fisheries biologists continue to project the Hatchery will meet the brood stock goal of 940 adult chinooks but doubt there will be enough returning fish above and beyond brood stock goal to allow for a salmon fishing season.

As of yesterday, the Hatchery had 482 total fish trapped, including 52 natural (non-hatchery-raised) fish. Of that total 157 were female chinooks. The 940 fish brood stock goal would need to include about half females.

As one IDFG Fisheries biologist said, "It's highly unlikely there will be any chinook season on The Upper Salmon River but we will keep a close eye on the numbers and never entirely close the door on that possibility."

Salmon run numbers and PIT tag numbers over Bonneville and Lower Granite Dams continue to lag the 10-year-average and appear just barely adequate to meet the Hatchery brood stock goal. IDFG fisheries biologists indicate they would have to see a significant (and, at this point, unexpected) increase in returning chinooks to even consider the possibility of a salmon fishing season this year.

Lower Granite return numbers are lagging the 10-year-average by 36 percent.  Bonneville's numbers are 29 percent below the cumulative 10-year-average. Bonneville chinook numbers have picked up in the past few days, however, and are running roughly "plus or minus" in the vicinity of the daily 10-year-average numbers.

Below are two screen clips. The first is Lower Granite and the second is Bonneville.

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