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The Year With No Fish

We have had all the right ingredients for fish-friendly rivers with lots of snow and spring rain.

Someone forgot to tell the fish.

We should have seen some 10K days this week.
We should have seen some 10K days this week.


Sure the water was cooler last week, but it got two degrees warmer and that’s when you saw a spike in numbers over John Day Dam.

Fishermen aren’t the only ones nervous. The slow passage of spring chinook salmon over Bonneville Dam has prompted fishery managers from Washington and Oregon to delay a recreational steelhead fishery originally set to begin May 16 in the lower Columbia River.

The annual fishery for hatchery steelhead and jack chinook salmon, stretching from Rocky Point upriver to the Interstate 5 Bridge, is closed until further notice, said Ron Roler, a fishery manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“All these fisheries are closely connected,” Roler said. “Right now, we’re waiting for an update on the spring chinook return, so we can determine how the steelhead fishery will fit within the spring chinook guideline.”

According to the WDFW as of May 10, only about 26,200 of the 160,400 upriver spring chinook anticipated under this year’s preseason forecast had been counted at Bonneville Dam. In most years, an updated estimate is issued by the first week of May, after about 50 percent of the run has passed the dam.

Salmon are picky as most fishermen know, their noses tell them when it is right to go upriver and something just isn’t right yet.

On the other hand, the Pacific Oscillation could have been interrupted or there was a food shortage, or any other of a number of worst case scenarios that could mean the fish simply aren’t out there in the ocean waiting to return.

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