Cascade Locks, OR - 2013 marks a record year for the Chinook (King) salmon runs on the Columbia River. Over 1 million salmon have passed through the Bonneville Dam located near the mouth of the Columbia River. Historically, the Fall Chinook run is the biggest single run of the year far exceeding the Spring and Summer season runs. In addition this Fall, 68,000 fish passed through the dam in a single day. According to Ben Hausmann, senior fish biologist for the Army Corp of Engineers at the Bonneville Dam, that is the highest daily run count since they began counting fish.
So why the banner year for Chinook?
Hausmann points to a number of factors, including the year the salmon went out as juveniles, and the water flow levels that enabled them to go quickly through the spillways. "You know this was a perfect storm of good conditions. You couple that with good ocean conditions, and the improvements we've made at the dams and operationally what we're able to do, that's kind of the suite of things that makes for a success story", says Ben Hausmann.