After record-high temperatures and drought decimated summer fisheries, Ervin Leslie only hopes that fish biologists are on the mark in forecasting the fall chinook run now under way as the fifth-largest in recent history.

More than 925,000 fall chinook are expected to return to the Columbia River. The largest run number of 1,175,700 was in 1941.

But that’s not the only bounty in the forecast. Other healthy runs anticipated include about 200,000 coho and a summer steelhead run estimated to reach about 300,000 by the time it ends later this month.

“All summer long was rough on everybody that was out here,” Leslie said, overlooking the river one recent afternoon. “So the next three weeks, if we have a good fish count, maybe we can make up what we lost this summer.”

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