If you’re a salmon and steelhead angler, these are the days we dream about. About 163,500 fish have crossed Bonneville Dam in last three days (Sept. 9 through Sept. 11), more and nearly 300,000 in the last seven days. The total run from Aug 1 (when fall chinook starts) to Sept 11 was 573,500 fish. That includes a single-day, all-time record of 63,870 fish on Sept. 9. The previous single-day record of 45,884 set in 2003 was topped three times last week.
To wrap your head around that, the 300,000 chinook crossing Bonneville in the last seven days would have topped 2007′s chinook return for the entire year, and that includes spring and fall chinook. The preseason forecast for this year’s fall chinook run was 434,000, and 573,567 have already crossed since Aug. 1.
So yeah, it’s a biggie, and just how big it will turn out is anyone’s guess because the run appears to be peaking, but who knows how many more days we will have with tens of thousands of fish crossing the dam?
Things aren’t so rosy for Lower Granite, which has had only 8,000 cross the dam since Aug. 18, the official start of fall chinook counting at that dam. But that could change as these fish work their way upstream. It will be fun to see how many head up the Snake and make it to Idaho and how many continue up the Columbia.
You can follow the dam counts HERE.