Monday, September 28, 2009

Salmon Return Big at Bonneville

Once again, nature defines our best-laid plans to predict what happens out there, as this article notes.

An excerpt,

“A mystery that began in the spring has resumed this fall in the Columbia River.

“In mid-June, when the counting at Bonneville Dam shifted from spring chinook to summer chinook, the total was a record-busting 81,782 jack spring chinook.

“That is almost four times the old high of 24,363 jacks in 2000, a jack return that foreshadowed the huge run of 416,000 adult spring chinook in 2001.

“Jacks are 3-year-old spring chinook salmon. They return to spawn a year earlier than their siblings, the 4-year-olds which make up the bulk of the spring chinook run annually in the middle and upper Columbia and Snake rivers.

“Using the historical relationship between jacks and 4-year-olds, next year's spring chinook run would be the range of 1.2 million to 1.5 million.

“No one expects that, particularly given the fact that Columbia River Technical Advisory Committee, composed of state, tribal and federal biologists, has hugely overpredicted the spring chinook for the past two years.”