Annual bummed about Bonneville passage thread

If we had a 50% increase in this years count over Bonneville as of today we would still be about 20% lower that the counts last year, that fizzled right around this time, and the 10 year average counts. Is it too early, sure, but it is all we have to use as a measurement. Take into consideration that last years count was the lowest this century. Same with the Snake river system, last year was the lowest this century. Upper Columbia above Priest Rapids last year beat 2006, 7, 8 and they opened The Methow and Wenatchee for hatchery how long this last year? The 10% of anglers that catch 90% of the fish will barely notice a difference, the 90% of anglers will notice.



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Almost to June and 6 or 7 out of 10 years you will have an idea on where the SH run is going to end up by this time. A lot can and will still happen which makes these doom-n-gloom or rock-n-roll predictions nothing but talking points...but just like last year...people had a hundred excuses why the fish weren't there by mid July when every indicator pointed to a big drop in numbers...then mid August...and finally one had to admit they weren't coming. It had fuck all to do with the warm water as every year has too warm of water now. The problems are the same today as they were 20 years ago as they were 50 years ago. Dams, spawning habitat alteration and 2 billion too many hatchery plants. Except one thing...the climate is drier and warmer as a whole now for the basin. Adding a new stress to the terribly complex natural system.

If these fish don't start showing up near the 10 year average daily count in two weeks...the reality that this year isn't going to be 2009 or 2001 and all of those monster years in-between (plus a couple past that) better start to sink in. Think BC fishing M-TH or F, plus hoping your truck or watermaster isn't vandalized to keep you away from the lodge clients.

I hear walleye and carp and bass are doing well in the impoundments...much better quarry than SH anyway...besides who wants to fish for SH in the desert?


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1967 since the last time a year started this poorly. Plenty of times between 1967 and 2012 where the fish start off all about the same (2-4X's+ what today is)...and some runs never materialize and others go well. But NONE OF THEM have started this badly (pre 1967) and ever recovered. 1967 ended up all of 120K fish over Bonnie. If the wild count crashes like last year's hatchery run did, and these unclipped numbers return to mid 90's run counts and worse...better get ready for massive management changes for the basin's recreational fishing seasons...ESA was not in play back then in any fashion like today.

All it will take is a week of good counts and all will be well again. We will know in a month if the season is just starting at near record lows...or if we are seeing the shift to poor returns again. If not outright collapse.

There isn't anything 'f'd up' about what is happening. Nothing was fixed that caused the huge population rebound (still at the peak's in '01 and '09...but a few % points of estimated historic abundance, hatchery fish don't count). Since nothing is in better shape today vs. 1993...and nothing has been is only logical to expect that what happened before will happen again. And eventually get worse.


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Sometimes I think the best thing for steelhead would be if they all stayed near Japan for 3 years.... Maybe they're on to us.
Just from looking at the dam counts on up each river (snake and columbia) this year and last, the majority of this "collapse" appears to be Snake River fish. You get to Priest Rapids and above, and we're around the 10yr average.