Wednesday August 31, 2022

The Spokesman-Review

There’s a good news-bad news scenario shaping up in this year’s return of steelhead to the Salmon and Snake rivers.

The bad: One-ocean steelhead aren’t showing up as projected.

The good: Two-ocean fish are bailing us out.

We are talking about the A-run here — steelhead that return mostly to the Snake, Salmon and Grande Ronde rivers. Most of them spend just one year in the ocean before returning as adults, But a small fraction stay at sea for two to three years.

As far as timing, the older fish tend to lead the charge and are followed by the youngsters. That profile has shaped up this year. The front end was loaded with two-ocean and three-ocean fish, so much so that early returns spiked above the 10-year average. But with the meager showing from one-ocean fish, the run now trails the 10-year trend.

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