The Columbia River spring Chinook forecast was released today, and while these are just paper fish the run will be almost twice as large as last year’s forecast and actual return.
The 2014 forecast is 227,1000 upriver spring Chinook compared to a forecast last year of 141,400 and an actual return of 123,100.
The breakdown is the Upper Columbia portion of the spring Chinook forecast is 24,100 in 2014 compared to a forecast last year of 14,300 and an actual return of 18,000.
The Snake River spring/summer component of the spring Chinook forecast is 125,000 in 2014 compared to a forecast last year of 58,200 and an actual return of 67,300.
The Snake River wild spring Chinook forecast is 42,200 in 2014 compared to a forecast last year of 18,900 and an actual return of 21,900.
The Upper Columbia summer Chinook forecast was also released and in 2014 state fishery managers are predicting a return of 67,500 compared to 73,500 forecast last year and an actual return of 67,600.
A forecast for another popular spring chinook fishery, the Willamette River, should be out very soon. State Fish and Wildlife are also finalizing spring chinook forecasts for the Cowlitz, Kalama and Lewis, tributaries of the Lower Columbia River.
The forecast in tributaries above Bonneville Dam such as Wind River, White Salmon River and Drano Lake usually come out in late January.
The Columbia River spring chinook are highly sought after for their tasty Omega-3 laced, red-orange-colored meat similar to Alaska’s Copper River salmon. A few early spring chinook return in January and February, but the height of the run is March and April.
Fishing seasons will be decided in late January or early February by state, federal and tribal fishery managers.