Thursday February 15, 2024

Northwest Sportsman

At face value, it’s a far rosier forecast than 2023’s, which came out a year ago this week and had managers worrying about the potential for a worst-ever run of just 63,400 summer-runs back in 2023 before ultimately 110,687 showed up, including 90,900 As and 19,787 Bs.

This year’s combined forecast is for 122,100 A and B steelhead, which would be the most going back to 2016’s actual return of around 172,000. Low marks include 67,752 in 2021 and 72,466 in 2019.

But the run is still nowhere close to where it was through the first decade and a half of this millennium.

“Steelhead abundance is still low, particularly when you compare it to the run sizes pre-2017, which were greater than 200,000,” noted WDFW’s Ryan Lothrop. 

High marks since 2000 are 601,505 in 2001 and 587,735 in 2009.

Recent years have seen steelhead restrictions up and down the Columbia and Snake in response to the low forecasts. Stay tuned to North of Falcon to see how 2024 shapes up, but it’s likely this year will see a continuation of those.

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