The fall salmon fishing season opens at the mouth of the Columbia river Friday. And the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is predicting the largest return of fall Chinook since Bonneville dam was built in the 1930s.
Chris Kern helps manage the Columbia salmon fishery for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. He’s expecting about 1.5 million fall Chinook.
“It’s going to be one of those years where you, I hope that you don’t have to tell your grandkids about ‘em because it just keeps happening, but just in case, it’s good to get out there and make sure you can say you were there,” Kern said.
According to Kern, many of the returning Chinook are wild fish that lay their eggs in the gravels near Hanford, where the Columbia bends to the north.
He says there are likely several reasons why so many fish are returning. Including reduction in fishing in Alaska and Canada. And high water levels on the Columbia due to rainy springs and court ordered spills several years ago. That high water may have helped these Chinook when they were smolts on their way to the sea.