The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and treaty tribes, recently released forecasts for chinook, coho, sockeye, and chum salmon in Puget Sound, the Columbia River, and Washington coastal areas.
Although biologists expect fair returns of hatchery Chinook salmon this year, low coho returns could restrict salmon fisheries in the region.
The recent forecast meeting was the starting point for developing 2016 salmon-fishing seasons in Puget Sound, the Columbia River, and Washington coastal areas. Fishery managers have scheduled a series of public meetings through early April before finalizing seasons later that month.
This year’s Puget Sound Chinook run is anticipated to be down from last year with about 165,000 fish returning. Hatchery fish make up the bulk of the run.
Roughly 55,000 sockeye are expected to return to the Baker River (a tributary of the Skagit River), which could trigger sockeye fisheries in Baker Lake and the Skagit River.
In the Columbia River, about 951,000 fall Chinook are expected to return, which is higher than the 10-year average but down from last year’s record run of 1.3 million fall Chinook.
The forecast calls for approximately 589,000 Chinook known as “upriver brights” returning to areas above Bonneville Dam.
About 223,000 hatchery fish, known as “tule Chinook” are expected to return this year to the lower Columbia River. The bulk of the recreational ocean chinook fishery consists of tules.
For more information, visit the WDFW website at wdfw.wa.gov.
source: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife