Record Numbers of Salmon, Steelhead Pour into Columbia River

Published November 1, 2009

Salmon and steelhead migrated into the Columbia River in record numbers this year, in some cases more than doubling previous records.

On August 13 a new single-day steelhead record was set for the third day in a row at the Bonneville Dam on the Lower Columbia River. On August 11 a record 18,671 steelhead were counted at the dam. On August 12 a new record 28,314 steelhead were counted. On August 13 yet another record was set with 34,053 steelhead counted.

Steelhead numbers have been counted at the dam since 1938. The previous record of 14,432 steelhead was set on August 3, 2001.

Salmon numbers also have been rising impressively. “In the lower Columbia, anglers are averaging almost a coho per rod and doing about the same in the Lewis and fair-to-good in the Kalama and Puyallup rivers,” noted the September 3 Olympia, Washington Olympian.

Lower Columbia River fishermen caught and kept a record 5,663 adult Chinook during August, a 10 percent increase over the previous record, set in 2002.

James M. Taylor ([email protected]) is a senior fellow of The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Environment & Climate News.