COLUMBIA RIVER — As the official end of 2014’s spring Chinook season approached on Sunday, June 15, Columbia Basin harvest managers bumped up their spring Chinook forecast from 224,000 to 243,000 fish (to river mouth) and gave commercial and sport fishers more time on the river.
By June 12, more than 218,000 spring Chinook had been counted at Bonneville Dam, more than twice last year’s tally of 106,000. About 31,000 jacks had also been counted, better than the 10-year average of 23,000. About 40,600 jacks had been counted by the same time in 2013.
Also by June 12, nearly 76,500 springers had passed Lower Granite Dam on the lower Snake River — compared to 32,600 last year — along with about 12,800 jacks, about 6,000 below last year’s jack count, but still better than the 10-year average.
Commercial gillnetters in the Lower Columbia had another crack at Chinook on the evening of June 4, while the season for sporties ran all the way to June 15. Those commercially caught fish are still fetching an estimated $5 per pound (grade-A) at the docks and averaging about 15 pounds each, according Oregon and Washington fish and wildlife department estimates.