Last year the Columbia saw a record sockeye return that blew away estimates with over 614,179 fish crossing Bonneville Dam.
The estimate for this year, while still better than the historical average, is more modest. With 106k predicted for the Wenatchee system, and 285k for the Okanogan. Which totals up to 392k.
So far the numbers of fish showing up indicate that once again the estimate is going to be low. Here is the current counts compared with some historical averages.
As you can see the return is much better than average, and we still have a few days to go before we reach the historical peak of the run. Already 170k fish have crossed the dam – which is a bit more than half of the estimate.
What I think is really interesting is that the total number of fish is tracking really close to the 2012 return numbers. If that trend keeps up we might be looking at about 500k fish returning.
My guess that the majority of these “extra” fish are bound for the Okanogan, which means that Wells Dam and Brewster pool are going to be really hopping in July.
Time to dust off the gear, and get prepared for what looks like an excellent sockeye season.