Bonneville Numbers

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by skyriver, Aug 6, 2017.

  1. Jamie Wilson

    Jamie Wilson Active Member

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    I was viewing the fish ladder last Friday at the Bonneville Dam. Several steelhead - clipped and unclipped swimming together. Some really nice kings, and a bunch of shad. This really doesn't mean much as far as total numbers of fish but it sure was cool staring at those windows for an hour. One of the elevations leading up the ladder had about 30 really nice steelhead milling around. The fish were awesome.
     
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  2. suckegg

    suckegg Active Member

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    Funny but I have never bothered even once hit such spots at prime time. One of them would be super easy/safe to do at night.

    In the eqivalent of 1 day over the last week I had 5 incidental steelhead on. 2 landed, one threw a barbless hook on a jump and the other two were short timers. I would bet the farm only one had been to sea. All wild that I got a good look at. Best one hit a totally beat up brown Yak Attack (looked like a goose turd)I was hoping a smallie would find appealing. Could be naturalized fish or Potamodromous. One small one was as chrome as it gets. If you believe dam counts there would have been 140 steelhead in the 15 mile stretch between dams. What are the odds there on the Columbia??? That leaves me thinking 4 of 5 were Potamodromous, naturlized, redbands or some bastard mix from tribs. Sometimes there no question if only due size what you caught. No smallies caught, way to warm to be hooking steelhead so I'm off till mid-September.

    If tails could tell tales.... IMG_0594.jpg IMG_0641 copy.jpeg
     
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  3. Cruik

    Cruik Active Member

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    I don't think that fish in the pictures ascended any dams this year and would thus be unaccounted for. I expect that it's a been in freshwater for nearly a year now. The coloration plus redd-digging fin damage pegs it as a post-spawn fish.
     
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  4. David Dalan

    David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

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    There are some big trout to be had in places nobody looks for them. A few years ago we ran into a bunch during meat salmon season. I am sure they were not steelhead. The mid-columbia is rich with foods, especially for a trout that grows large enough to become a primary piscivore.
     
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  5. suckegg

    suckegg Active Member

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    Makes sense to me. Pays to have a photos. I thought that one seemed rough for coming from the salt. It never dawned on me. The more I think about the downstream element the more the bigger picture gels. It explains why I saw such differences in fish when I stumbled onto spawning locations. Some fish were from sea and some were down-stream fish that never made it out trying for round 2 or 3. I can recall seeing what were clearly down streamers in May/June over the years. Some real big fish too. Those fish seemed like they were on their last leg often. So in retrospect I am catching fish coming, going and residents to boot most likely.
     
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  6. Buzzy

    Buzzy Active Member

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    First of all: great pictures! Why wouldn't there be resident rainbows in that 15 mile stretch? There's one significant creek for their "potamodromous" (had to look this word up) run and I'd wonder about main stem CR spawning. Why not trout? There are plenty of salmonid redds in certain sections of the river in that same stretch.

    I seem to recall a theory I read about somewhere along the line about hatchery steelhead residualizing in rivers if their release was delayed. This theory doesn't explain the adipose in your photograph.
     
  7. Jmills81

    Jmills81 The Dude Abides

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    This run is fucked.
     
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  8. Blackbugger

    Blackbugger Active Member

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    It is depressing.
    Nice blog post by the way. I feel pretty much exactly the same.
     
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  9. Tim Ihle

    Tim Ihle Active Member

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    This run has been F'd for the last 200 years son...
     
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  10. suckegg

    suckegg Active Member

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    I think there are rainbows. This photo could be one or is it steel that hasn't gone to sea. This one was in great shape but only 17"s. Do some hang around a year or so the head out? I have witnessed steel spawning. There is some spawning habitat for bows but not a ton IMO. 8:5:17.jpg I wonder about the 12">22" fish that are pure chrome?

    There is more than one trib in the mix though some years there is not enough flows in some of them.
     
  11. Supacash

    Supacash Wishin I was Fishin

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  12. JS

    JS Active Member

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    Have hope, people! This isn't the end of the road, and maybe we can start to have a more authentic dialog about some of our more imperiled fisheries.

    Just a point of reference here:

    [​IMG]

    Check out 75....now think about where we are in terms of the conservation and restoration argument.


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  13. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    JS -
    You are correct of course there has been a lot effort spend on conservation and restoration in the Columbia/Snake and generally speaking steelhead have respond fairly positively. However it might be informative if your adult counts were extend to include those from this century. What is especially interesting/concerning are the wild steelhead counts available since 1994.

    To your point the wild steelhead counts had generally improved from a low point of 2008 when 28,000 were counted. Thanks to good water years (spill) and decent ocean conditions for ocean steelhead those wild numbers generally showed a upward trend until peaking at 172,000 in 2009. In recent years the wild steelhead counts in the basin have been in free fall. In 2014 the count was 130,000, in 2015 it was 98,000 and in 2016 it was 52,000. This week the 2017 A-run wild steelhead run size (based on Bonneville counts) has been updated (downgraded) to 21,000 add to those A-run fish the forecast for the B-run of 1,100 (22,100 total) we are looking at the lowest wild run in the data base with a very concerning steep downward trend. Given the poor a-run returns which are typically most 1-salt fish it is hard to b-run (mostly 2-salt fish) forecast for 2018 to be as large as 2017..

    More than a few folks are legitimately concerned that extinction of the B-run wild steelhead maybe in sight.

    Curt
     
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  14. Yard Sale

    Yard Sale Huge Member

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    At least we are watching this while enjoying a good water year. I fear 2018 may be even worse than this year, but hopefully 2019 reflects these good river and ocean conditions with a big bounce back.

    One note on the B runs: here in the lower/mid Columbia we found a surprising number of large fish we felt were probably B runs well into the winter. I'd really like to hope that some part of this is just a shift in run timing. Maybe they are just running a bit late waiting for cooler temps. I know the shad run was almost a month late. No science to that, just a hope...
     
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  15. JS

    JS Active Member

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    I hear you, Curt, and obviously defer to your vastly more scientific perspective.

    Am I wrong to feel optimistic that as ocean conditions/water conditions improve, the B run may be more successful considering the smolt class of 14, 15, and 16 are still in the ocean?

    Is this really as frightening as some have suggested?



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