February 19, 2014
The latest pre-season 2014 projections for spring Chinook salmon, coho and fall Chinook salmon look awesome. Numbers projected for all three runs should produce outstanding fishing in the ocean, off the Washington coast and in the Columbia River.
“Combined with the nearly 1 million Columbia River coho currently swimming in the ocean, it should be a pretty awesome year (at least on paper) in your area,” Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Joe Hymer said regarding new fall Chinook projections.
Predictions anticipate a strong run of 308,000 adult spring Chinook to the Columbia River this year up from last year’s return of 195,200 fish. Fishing is open now below the Interstate 5 Bridge, and fish are in the river but it doesn’t really heat up until March. This prized, tasty fish will start off an outstanding salmon season.
The Columbia River fall Chinook season predicts 2014 bonus numbers of 1,602,900 compared to 1,266,400 that returned in 2013. The bigger story is of these Chinook returning, nearly 1,000,000 will be upriver brights. If the prediction numbers are met, it would be the largest return on record since on record since 1938.
Coupled with excellent returns of Chinook salmon, the coho season (as reported in last week’s Observer) is going to be a boomer. The early and late returns of coho salmon in 2013 was 301,500, and 2014 ocean abundance is predicted to be better than three times that number with a total adult coho fish count of 964,100.