Data Sources:


All data in the Estimated Actual Return Data by Species, Stock and Year to the Columbia River Basin tables comes from the following three Columbia River Compact reports:






Columbia River Compact:


The Columbia River Compact is charged by congressional and statutory authority to adopt seasons and rules for Columbia River commercial fisheries. In recent years, the Compact has consisted of the Oregon and Washington agency directors, or their delegates, acting on behalf of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission (OFWC) and the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission (WFWC). The Columbia River treaty tribes have authority to regulate treaty Indian fisheries. When addressing commercial seasons for Columbia River fisheries, the Compact must consider the effect of the commercial fishery on escapement, treaty rights, and the impact on species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Working together under the Compact, the states have the responsibility to address the allocation of limited resources between recreational, commercial, and treaty Indian fishers. This responsibility has become increasingly demanding in recent years. The states maintain a conservative management approach when considering Columbia River fisheries that will affect species listed under the ESA.



Data Collection Method:


A collaborative system of data collection including hatchery returns, dam counts, harvest and natural spawn and age class data from multiple agencies throughout the Columbia and Snake River basins.



Species / Stock Definitions:


Fall Chinook


Adult Fall Chinook generally enter the Columbia River from late July through October with abundance peaking in the lower river from mid-August to mid-September and passage at Bonneville Dam peaking in early September. Columbia River fall Chinook are comprised of five major management components: Lower River Hatchery (LRH), Lower River Wild (LRW), Bonneville Pool Hatchery (BPH), Upriver Bright (URB), and Mid-Columbia Bright (MCB). The LRH and BPH stocks are referred to as tules and the LRW, URB, and MCB stocks are referred to as brights. Minor run components include Lower River Brights (LRB) and Select Area Brights (SAB). The URB, BPH, and a portion of MCB Chinook are produced above Bonneville Dam, and in aggregate, comprise the upriver run, which is subject to treaty Indian/non-Indian allocation requirements. Most of the URB Chinook are wild fish destined for the Hanford Reach section of the Columbia River, Priest Rapids Hatchery, and the Snake River. Smaller URB components are destined for the Deschutes and Yakima rivers. Snake River Wild (SRW) fall Chinook are a sub-component of the URB stock. The MCBs originated from, and are considered a component of, the URB stock. The upriver MCB component (Pool Upriver Brights or PUB stock) is comprised of brights that are reared at Little White Salmon, Irrigon, and Klickitat hatcheries and released in areas between Bonneville and McNary dams. Natural production of brights derived from PUB stock is also believed to occur in the mainstem Columbia River below John Day Dam, and in the Wind, White Salmon, Klickitat, and Umatilla rivers. The BPH stock is produced primarily at Spring Creek Hatchery in the Bonneville Pool, although natural production of tules also occurs in the Wind, White Salmon, and Klickitat rivers. BPH passage at Bonneville Dam occurs over a shorter timeframe than the URB and MCB Chinook.  The lower river run is comprised of LRH, LRW, MCB (BUB and LRB components), and SAB stocks, which are all produced below Bonneville Dam. The LRH stock is currently produced from hatchery facilities (five in Washington and one in Oregon) while the LRW stock is naturally produced primarily in the Lewis River system, with smaller components also present in the Cowlitz and Sandy rivers. Some natural production of LRH stock likely occurs in many tributaries below Bonneville Dam, including the Coweeman, East Fork Lewis, and Grays rivers. The MCB production below Bonneville Dam (Bonneville Upriver Brights or BUB stock) occurs at Bonneville Hatchery in Oregon. The LRBs are a self-sustaining natural stock that spawns in the mainstem Columbia approximately three miles downstream from Bonneville Dam. The LRB stock is closely related to URBs and is thought to have originated from MCB or URB stock. Lower River Brights were originally classified as BUBs, but beginning in 1998 this stock was considered a unique subcomponent of the MCB stock. SABs are a hatchery stock that originated from Rogue River fall Chinook stock egg transfers during 1982-1986. In 2006, production of this stock was transferred from ODFW’s Klaskanine Hatchery to the South Fork Klaskanine Hatchery operated by the Clatsop County Fisheries (CCF) Project (formerly Clatsop County Economic Development Council’s (CEDC) Fisheries Project), with additional releases from net pens located in Youngs Bay.


Spring Chinook:


Spring Chinook enter fresh water to spawn in Columbia River tributaries and generally emigrate from freshwater as yearlings. Spring Chinook entering the lower Columbia River during mid-February to mid-March are predominantly larger, 5-year-old fish destined for lower river tributaries. Age-5 Chinook are dominant throughout March and reach peak abundance in the lower Columbia River by late March. Smaller 4-year-old fish enter in increasing numbers after mid-March, reaching peak abundance during April. Spring Chinook returning to the Columbia River are comprised of lower river and upriver components. Upriver spring Chinook returning to areas above Bonneville Dam begin to enter the Columbia River in substantial numbers after mid-March and generally reach peak abundance at Bonneville Dam in late April. The Willamette River spring Chinook run passes through the lower Columbia River from February through May, with peak abundance during mid-March to mid-April. Migration through the lower Willamette River varies with water conditions but typically occurs from mid-March through April. Passage through the Willamette Falls fishway occurs from mid-April to mid-June, with peak passage typically in mid-May.  Spring Chinook returning to the Washington tributaries of the lower Columbia River are destined for the Cowlitz, Kalama, and Lewis rivers. These runs are listed under the ESA and are genetically similar. Washington lower river spring Chinook migrate earlier than upriver Columbia River stocks with the majority of the run passing through the lower Columbia River from mid-March to mid-May.


Select Area Spring Chinook - The spring Chinook program in the Youngs Bay terminal fishing area began in 1989 and was expanded in 1993 with the implementation of the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) funded Select Area Fisheries Evaluation (SAFE) Project. Implementation of the SAFE project also allowed for the development of other Select Area fishing sites. The evaluation phase of the SAFE program was completed in 2005, and the program is now referred to as the Select Area Fisheries Enhancement Project (with the same SAFE acronym). Spring Chinook releases in Oregon Select Areas are Willamette stock while the Washington site utilizes Cowlitz and/or Lewis stocks. Currently, all Select Area spring Chinook are reared in hatcheries primarily supported by the BPA-funded SAFE Project: Gnat Creek Hatchery (ODFW) in Oregon and Grays River Hatchery (WDFW) in Washington. Production at both hatcheries utilizes surplus eggs collected at other state facilities that would not otherwise have been hatched and reared. Spring Chinook released in Select Areas are reared and/or acclimated in net pens located in Youngs Bay, Tongue Point, and Blind Slough in Oregon and Deep River in Washington. Spring Chinook were reared and released from the South Fork Klaskanine Hatchery operated by the Clatsop County Fisheries project during brood years 2002–2004 but this program was discontinued due to chronic disease issues and lack of year-round water rights for the hatchery.


Upriver Spring Chinook - Upriver spring Chinook begin entering the Columbia River in late February and early March and typically reach peak abundance at Bonneville Dam in late April. Historically, all Chinook passing Bonneville Dam from March through May were counted as upriver spring Chinook (Figure 1). Since 2005, the upriver spring Chinook run size has included Snake River summer Chinook and is the sum of the Bonneville Dam count plus the number of fish of upriver origin landed in lower river fisheries (kept catch plus release mortalities) from January 1 through June 15. The upriver spring run is comprised of stocks from three geographically separate production areas: 1) the Columbia River system above the confluence with the mouth of the Snake River, 2) the Snake River system, and 3) Columbia River tributaries between Bonneville Dam and the Snake River. Snake River summer Chinook are destined for areas above Lower Granite Dam. The NMFS listed Snake River wild spring/summer Chinook as threatened under the ESA in May 1992 and upper Columbia wild spring Chinook as endangered effective May 24, 1999. In each of three geographic areas, production is now a mix of hatchery and wild/natural fish. Although no estimates of hatchery contribution to upriver runs are available prior to 1977, those runs are assumed to have been predominantly wild. Hatchery production in the 1960s and early 1970s was very limited in comparison to current production. Since the late 1970s, spring Chinook hatchery production of upriver stocks has expanded to the point that about two-thirds of the current run is hatchery-produced. Beginning in 2002, the majority of the hatchery production returning to the Columbia River was mass marked with an adipose fin clip. With considerable numbers of hatchery eggs, fry, smolts, and adults being out-planted in recent years, it is likely that some of the current natural production is also an indirect hatchery product.


Summer Chinook:


Upper Columbia River Summer Chinook - Upper Columbia River summer Chinook are destined for production areas and hatcheries above Priest Rapids Dam. Historically, these fish spawned in the Columbia, Wenatchee, Okanogan, and Similkameen rivers. Access to over 500 miles of the upper Columbia River (excluding tributaries) was blocked by the construction of Grand Coulee Dam in 1941.



Summer Steelhead:


The Columbia River summer steelhead run is made up of populations originating from both lower river and upper river tributaries. Summer steelhead enter the Columbia River primarily from April through October each year, with most of the run entering from late June to mid-September. The lower Columbia River (LCR) component is primarily hatchery produced, derived from Skamania stock steelhead and tends to be earlier timed than the upriver stocks. Peak timing of the lower river component is in May and June. The Skamania stock was successfully introduced into numerous streams below Bonneville Dam, and a few streams above, including the Wind and Hood rivers. Summer steelhead caught in mainstem Columbia River fisheries during May and June of each year are classified and counted as lower river stock (destined for areas below Bonneville Dam). Upriver summer steelhead include hatchery and wild fish that pass Bonneville Dam during April through October of each year. Fish passing April through June are considered Skamania stock steelhead destined mainly for tributaries within Bonneville Pool, and fish passing during July through October are categorized as Group A index or Group B index fish, based on fork length (Group A < 78 cm, Group B =78 cm). Group B steelhead primarily return to tributaries in the Salmon and Clearwater rivers in Idaho, while Group A steelhead return to tributaries throughout the Columbia and Snake basins.


Winter Steelhead:


Wild Winter Steelhead - Winter steelhead enter the Columbia River from November through April and spawn from March through June. Juvenile wild winter steelhead usually rear in freshwater for one to three years before outmigrating to the ocean as smolts during March through June. Most lower Columbia River steelhead spend two summers in the ocean before returning as adults to spawn in natal streams. The range of winter steelhead includes all tributaries of the Columbia River upstream to Fifteen Mile Creek on the Oregon shore and the Klickitat River on the Washington shore. All wild winter steelhead are ESA-listed, except those within the Southwest Washington Distinct Population Segment (DPS). The Southwest Washington DPS includes Grays Harbor, Willapa Bay, and the Columbia River below the Cowlitz River in Washington and the Willamette River in Oregon. All steelhead handled in the lower Columbia River (below Bonneville Dam) during November through April are considered to be winter steelhead.




Lower Columbia River hatchery coho return primarily to Oregon and Washington hatcheries downstream from Bonneville Dam, although substantial hatchery production also occurs above Bonneville Dam. In recent years, approximately one-third of the releases have occurred above Bonneville Dam. The Columbia River hatchery coho return includes both early and late segments. Early stock coho enter the Columbia River from mid-August to early October with peak entry occurring in early September. In the ocean, early stock coho tend to remain near the Oregon and southern Washington coasts and most migrate southward from the Columbia River. Early coho are also referred to as Type S, referring to their southerly ocean migration from the mouth of the Columbia River. Late stock coho enter the Columbia River from mid-September through December with peak entry occurring in mid-October. In the ocean, late stock coho tend to migrate northward from the Columbia River along the Washington coast and Vancouver Island. Late stock coho are referred to as Type N, referring to their northerly ocean migration from the mouth of the Columbia River.




The Columbia River sockeye run consists of the Okanagan, Wenatchee, and Snake River stocks. The Okanagan and Wenatchee stock abundance is cyclic, with occasional strong return years followed by years of low returns. The upper Columbia River sockeye run consist of four age groups. Fish returning to Osoyoos Lake in the Okanagan Basin are typically three- and four-year-old fish. Those returning to Lake Wenatchee in the Wenatchee Basin are typically four- and five-year-old fish. The Snake River sockeye run, largely returning to the Stanley Basin in Idaho, is extremely depleted. A small remnant population of the Snake River sockeye returns to Redfish Lake. Production is maintained through a captive brood program and most returning adults are progeny of this program. The Snake River stock was federally-listed as endangered in November 1991.

Sockeye salmon migrate through the lower Columbia River during June and July, with normal peak passage at Bonneville Dam around July 1. The Wenatchee stock generally migrates earlier than the Okanogan stock although the run timing of both stocks overlap. Sockeye counts at Ice Harbor Dam (on the Snake River) and Priest Rapids Dam (on the upper Columbia River) both extend from early June through mid-July, which suggests that the Snake River component has similar run timing to the upper Columbia sockeye.