Idaho's Snake River sockeye salmon return robust after several bad years

ERIC BARKER Lewiston Tribune

This summer, Idaho’s Stanley Basin could see the most robust return of sockeye salmon it has seen in several years.

Sockeye numbers at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River surged at the end of June, smashing preseason forecasts and providing unexpected fisheries from below the dam to the river’s upper reaches. More than 56,000 were counted on June 27 alone and, as of Tuesday, the total run was more than of 639,000.

But almost none of those will come anywhere near Idaho or the Stanley Basin. Instead, just a tiny fraction of the steady stream of reds counted at Bonneville Dam, perhaps as many as 1,800, will peel off near the Tri-Cities and venture up the Snake River. But it’s still a big deal.

Snake River sockeye are the most imperiled salmon in the Columbia Basin. They’ve been hanging by a thread for decades and exist today only because of an emergency captive brood program hatched in the 1990s.

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Just like all of the Snake River’s wild salmon runs protected by the Endangered Species Act, sockeye have had a rough half a decade. Poor ocean

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