Chinook Salmon

Chinook Salmon
Roger Tabor / USFWS Pacific

Juvenile salmon and steelhead migrating out of the Columbia River Basin in unusually high flows this year face a potentially lethal problem in spillways at dams where increased nitrogen in the water can cause tissue-damaging gas bubble trauma.

But fisheries managers say special features at dams meant to reduce nitrogen will help young fish make it to the ocean and predict survival this year will be about average based on previous high-flow years.

Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

About 600,000 young spring chinook salmon have died at a northern Idaho fish hatchery after an electrical problem stopped water from circulating.

The Nez Perce Tribe tells the Lewiston Tribune the fish died at the Kooskia National Fish Hatchery on Friday when an electrical circuit breaker tripped and a warning system to alert hatchery workers failed.

The salmon were a few weeks old and scheduled to be released next spring and return as adults in 2020.

Dusted / Flickr Creative Commons

Officials are once again working to restore fish habitat in the Yankee Fork basin near the central Idaho city of Stanley.

The Mountain Express reports that the restoration is part of a multi-million-dollar series of projects slated for seven years that will repair damage done by years of dredge mining.

This year, crews are putting logs in a stretch of river and modifying the channel to help return the water to more natural conditions.

Chinook Salmon, fish
Pacific Northwest National Lab / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho anglers looking to catch chinook this fall are in luck. 

Compared to last year, fewer chinook salmon are expected to return to the Snake River basin this fall. But Idaho Fish and Game Commissioners still plan to open a fishing season on parts of the Snake, Clearwater and Salmon rivers. The season opens September 1.

Altogether, a total of 32,000 hatchery and wild chinook are expected to complete the journey to Idaho. Last year 59,000 fish were counted.

Steelhead
Matt Corsi / Idaho Fish and Game

The first attempt to delist one of the 13 species of Columbia Basin salmon and steelhead protected under the Endangered Species Act has been denied by federal authorities.

The decision made public Thursday by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries cites concerns Snake River fall chinook wouldn't remain viable without continued protections.

An Alaska commercial fishing advocacy group called Chinook Futures Coalition requested the delisting in January 2015.

Joe Parks / Flickr Creative Commons

The number of returning chinook salmon on the Columbia River has taken a dramatic upswing. Over the weekend, 107,000 chinook salmon climbed the fish ladder at Bonneville dam.

A spokeswoman with the Columbia Inter Tribal Fish Commission, Sara Thompson, says those numbers set a new record.

Chinook Salmon
Roger Tabor / USFWS Pacific

Blaine County commissioners in central Idaho have approved permits what will allow workers to improve fish passage on a key stream for chinook salmon, steelhead and bull trout.

The Idaho Mountain Express reports that commissioners last week approved work expected to start this week on Pole Creek.

The creek is designated critical habitat for the fish.

The stream-alteration and flood plain conditional-use permit means a culvert on private property that impedes fish passage will be replaced with a bridge.

Chinook Salmon, fish
Pacific Northwest National Lab / Flickr Creative Commons

Hundreds of adult chinook salmon needed to create future generations have been killed after rainstorms sent sediment into a fish trap on the South Fork of the Salmon River in central Idaho.

Officials tell the Idaho Statesman that the loss means significantly fewer adult chinook salmon will return to the South Fork Salmon in 2018.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game says the rain event on Aug. 6 caused sediment to flow into holding ponds and suffocate the fish.

Chinook Salmon, fish
Pacific Northwest National Lab / Flickr Creative Commons

The Snake River's fall chinook salmon are making a comeback.

There were just 78 wild chinook salmon counted at the Lower Granite Dam in 1990. Last year, more than 20,000 of the wild salmon were counted, and 75,846 wild and hatchery-born fall chinook total.

Ingrid Taylar / Flickr

Officials at the fisheries division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are working on a long-range plan that could lead to delisting fall chinook in the Snake River.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that officials for the first time are setting down precise standards that must be met for the fish to be taken off the endangered species list.

But officials say it's a long process with many hurdles.

Fishermen around the Northwest are enjoying some exceptional salmon runs this autumn. Puget Sound is teeming with pink salmon and there's a record-breaking fall Chinook run in the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

Chinook Salmon, fish
Pacific Northwest National Lab / Flickr Creative Commons

An employee mistake likely led to the death of 160 adult Chinook salmon being transported from a fish hatchery to a river to spawn earlier this week.

The Department of Fish and Game reported Friday the fish died while being shipped from Sawtooth Hatchery near Stanley to the Yankee Fork of the Salmon River, about 40 miles away.

In Wednesday's incident, the Fish and Game employee noticed many of the fish were stressed and dying.

It appears to have been caused by a lack of oxygen, the result of an employee error in operating the transport truck's life support systems.

Chinook Salmon
Roger Tabor / USFWS Pacific

Chinook salmon haven't returned naturally to the Boise River for decades, since dams downstream on the Snake River blocked their passage.

But the Idaho Department of Fish and Game will be stocking 300 to 400 Chinook jacks in the Boise River Monday.

The jack salmon are young Chinooks that return to fresh water earlier than other spawning adults.

They're about half the size of typical Chinooks that return to rivers.

Spring Chinook Numbers Lower Than Expected

Jun 20, 2012
endora57 / Flickr

You might remember predictions of really high spring chinook runs this year. But, turns outs, after spring salmon runs wrapped up, the numbers were not as high as everyone had hoped.

Biologists had predicted the Columbia River would see one of the stronger spring salmon runs in the past decade. But it looks like forecasts were off by a little more than one-third. Biologists say, still a decent run, just not all that exciting.

One tool they use to predict salmon runs are early returns of male salmon, known as “jacks.”