The number of Chinook salmon returning to spawn up the Columbia River is set to bust last year’s record of nearly a million, with a whopping 1.5 million fish returning this fall.
The commercial fishing season has already opened, with fishers from the Nez Perce, Umatilla, Warm Springs, and Yakama tribes taking to the Columbia River with the first of five tribal commercial gillnet openings beginning on August 18, the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) announced in a media release. They could get as much as 3.5 million pounds of salmon, or 240,000 fall Chinook, the commission said.
Snake River fall Chinook are also expected to be plentiful, the commission said, with 61,000 returning, another record.
“The Columbia Basin’s fall chinook return is something that we can truly celebrate as a region,” said Paul Lumley, executive director for the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, in a statement. “Everyone benefits from this abundant return. It is the perfect example of what we should be striving for with every run of salmon and what can be accomplished when we all work together to rebuild these magnificent runs.”
Besides the Chinook, 638,300 Coho are also anticipated to return, according to the Columbia Basin Bulletin.