Wednesday August 23, 2023

The Spokesman-Review

Something unusual appears to be happening with Idaho-bound steelhead and, if it holds, it’s a good thing.

In their preseason forecast, fisheries managers expected the Snake River summer run would be dismal. The earlier returning A-run would be poor, according to the prediction, but the B-run would approach the worst ever recorded and could prompt fishing restrictions.

Those forecasts are compiled over the winter, long before the fish enter the mouth of the Columbia River and start pushing inland. In July, when A-run fish started arriving at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia, they showed some life and continue to do so. Granted, the numbers are low, well below goals and far short of more robust returns a decade ago. But they are better than some of the poor returns posted between 2017 and 2021.

Now the B-run fish are showing up. Those bound for the Clearwater River also are defying poor expectations — by a lot.

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