If the fall chinook, coho and steelhead returns hold up to early-season forecasts, anglers can anticipate a solid season, according to Idaho Fish and Game.
More than 40,000 adult fall chinook salmon are expected to return, compared with almost 60,000 adults passing over Lower Granite Dam last year. Idaho Fish and Game said many of the returnees will be older and approaching 20 pounds. Some will have intact adipose fins and must be released.
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Last year, more than 18,000 coho passed over Lower Granite Dam, with the previous high around 5,000. Fisheries managers say this year’s run will land somewhere in the middle.
Coho returns to the Snake River are difficult to predict, mainly because the run is so new. Sufficient numbers are expected to return to the Clearwater River to allow some sport fishing.
The run should be similar to last year, when about 70,000 Idaho-bound hatchery steelhead passed over Lower Granite Dam. This is about average when compared with the last six runs.
While most of these fish will be destined for the Salmon River, anglers fishing the Clearwater River for the larger B-run fish can expect similar numbers as last year.
Current steelhead counts at Lower Granite Dam are the lowest since 2006. Fisheries managers think the slow start is a result of high water temperatures.