June 28, 2012
Record Numbers of Wild Sockeye Salmon Return to the Pacific Northwest
By Chad Love
2012 is shaping up to be a record year for sockeye salmon in the Pacific northwest as hundreds of thousands of fish are being counted. In fact, some daily salmon counts are higher than counts in past years for the entire season.
From this story on msnbc.com:
Record numbers of a once-waning population of sockeye salmon have been returning to the Northwest's Columbia Basin this summer, with thousands more crossing the river's dams in a single day than the total numbers seen in some previous years.
Since Bonneville Dam outside Portland was built in 1938, there have been plenty of times there weren't 38,000 sockeye salmon swimming over the fish ladders in a whole year. But on Monday that many passed the Columbia River dam, and another 41,000 swam over the dam on Wednesday — a rate of nearly 30 a minute. That bought the total so far to 290,000.
According to the story, more than 400,000 salmon are expected to return this year, and what's more, almost all of them are wild salmon, born in the region's rivers instead of a hatchery. Biologists credit favorable ocean conditions and improved habitat in the area's rivers as the reason for the upswing in numbers. Any northwest anglers taking advantage of this banner year?