Columbia River Basin Fish Returns and Forecast for 2023

Charlene Hurst of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and John Powell of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game gave an overview of the 2022 adult Chinook, coho, sockeye, and chum salmon and steelhead runs for the Columbia River and expectations for the 2023 fisheries. Powell provided information on the Snake River Basin salmon and steelhead returns and the forecast returns for 2023.

Columbia River Stock Highlights

  • Upriver Spring Chinook return is trending upward
  • Upriver summer steelhead returns are trending downward. Because of the poor forecast, steelhead fisheries were constrained. “This is definitely a stock we’re concerned about in the future,” noted Hurst.
  • Sockeye return was much larger than forecast in 2022
  • For 2023, coho, sockeye and steelhead forecasts are all less than actual returns in 2022; the total salmon and steelhead return forecast is about 1 million less than last year's return.

Snake River Stock Highlights

  • Snake River Chinook and sockeye returns are trending upward
  • 2023 forecast salmon returns are lower than 2022 actual returns
  • 2023-2024 Snake River summer steelhead forecast lowest ever
  • 2023 salmonid return to Lower Granite Dam remains below Columbia Basin Partnership goals