Jeff Korth, WDFW, provided the following update at the October 24th Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board meeting regarding the status of Upper Columbia fisheries stocks for 2013:
Spring Chinook – The run forecast for the Upper Columbia was 14,300 and the actual was 13,725; 1,500 were wild. The 10-year average over Priest Rapids is about 15,000. In relation to Spring Chinook permitting and fisheries for the Upper Columbia, there was no adult management conducted in 2013, including fisheries other than the Icicle; however, permits are now in hand for both in 2014.
Summer/Fall Chinook – the run forecast for the Upper Columbia was 73,500 and the actual was 71,083; 55% were wild. The 10-year average is 54,000. In relation to Summer Chinook permitting and fisheries, anglers had a difficult time with the barbless hook rule as well as the marked selective fishery (MSF) that was introduced on the Columbia River. These measures were necessary to preserve wild Chinook for spawning escapement. The fall portion was much more abundant than usual with about 27,000 over Rock Island Dam compared to an average of 9,500. These were thought to be primarily wild Chinook and were also needed on the spawning grounds to make up for low escapement in the past. The recreational fishery for summer Chinook harvested about 2,800 adipose fin-clipped fish and released about 3,600.
Sockeye – Okanogan and Lake Wenatchee run. The total Bonneville forecast was 180,000 and there were 134,000 forecast for the Okanogan run. The actual run at Wells Dam was 130,000 and harvest was 5,822. Harvest was down because participation was down due to a two-fish limit. Escapement strategies with the Canadians are ongoing to assist in greater numbers going to Canada. For the Lake Wenatchee run, the forecast was close to 45,000 but there were only 29,000 at the Tumwater Dam. This fishery attracted a lot of attention and high participation, and 6,262 were harvested at Lake Wenatchee.
Steelhead – The estimate was 14,000 over Priest Rapids dam for this run. The fishery just recently began and will likely last through the end of November. However, there is a greater proportion of wild fish in the run this year. In the Wenatchee, the season may last longer and in the Methow it could go quite fast. The Entiat did not open this year. The state is restructuring steelhead fishery permits right now to better manage the adult hatchery fish population. The current permits are tiered but the new permits are going to have a sliding scale to keep the fisheries open longer.