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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

September 13, 2011 at 1:14 PM

Columbia River has record pink return this summer

pink smile.jpg

It now official the pink salmon return to the Columbia River is a new record.

To date, 1,504 pinks have been counted at Bonneville Dam, and it’s a new record high count since at least 1938.

The previous record was a total of 637 pinks in 2003, and in 1991 there 550 humpies tallied.

Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist said, they do see pinks every year that cross Bonneville Dam.

The majority of them migrate to the mouth of Toutle and Cowlitz River. The Cowlitz has a known population of pinks and the largest.

Pinks in the Columbia mainstem and Cowlitz need to be released when caught by anglers.

In an earlier published story in The Seattle Times, Hymer says “nobody knows much about them (in this region), and they could be expanding their southern range or colonizing.”

It could be similar to what happened in Puget Sound on the Green River, which went from having a few to a forecast of more than 2 million pinks.

(Photo by Mark Harrison, Seattle Times staff photographer)

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