The Columbia River sockeye return this summer has officially broken the largest run-size on record with 526,367 counted through Tuesday (July 8).
“We have a new record, and I think the latest forecast (560,000) is being on the conservative side,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “For whatever reason it seems like the record for the moment is broken every other year.”
That knocks off the previous record set in 2012 of 520,959 that entered the mouth, and more sockeye are still flooding into the big river.
The single-day count on Tuesday was 19,087 at the Bonneville Dam fish ladder, and 22,831 on Monday plus 26,182 on Sunday.
Counts have amazingly topped 20,000-plus for the past two-and-a-half weeks.
State fisheries officials say the run could easily go well beyond where it stands on Tuesday, and is on mark to hit 560,000 or more compared to the pre-season forecast of 347,000.
Much of this success can be based on the excellent number of sockeye coming out of the Okanogan River in recent years.
This should really boost fishing action in the Upper Columbia River between Wells Dam and Brewster, and likely produce a fishery in Lake Wenatchee sometime later this summer.