Steelhead Coming This Way!
Wow! I have not been very good at keeping up with this blog. But that is not surprising as it has been summer and all. Now it is time to turn our eyes toward Steelhead season. I will do my best to keep up with this report as we begin catching steelhead which was done by guide James Nash last week in the Troy area. Read on to see what Fish Biologist Jeff Yanke has to say about the upcoming season.
Stay tuned and be sure to join one of our Supported Steelhead adventures taking place on the Grande Ronde in late October and early November.
Estimates of hatchery steelhead at Bonneville dam indicate the run continues to shape up over the past few years. So far we estimate 15,828 steelhead from the Grande Ronde and Imnaha have crossed Bonneville Dam. At this time last year, the run was about 85-90% complete. In total, we estimated 14,501 steelhead from the Imnaha and Grande Ronde Rivers passed Bonneville Dam – so we’ve already exceeded last year’s total! Looking ahead, we’re might end up somewhere near what 2011-12 (17,000 at Bonneville) offered us.
- We estimate that 4,189 Imnaha River steelhead have crossed Bonneville to-date. This time last year we estimated 3,293 had crossed. We’re still looking heaps better than the final 2012-13 estimate of 1,400 fish.
- Based on the detections to-date; the age composition of both Grande Ronde and Imnaha runs is way more balanced this year. The 2-salt fish that typically measure 25-28” comprise over 53% of the Grande Ronde and 37% of the Imnaha fish detected to-date. If that pattern remains, a Grande Ronde angler should only see one large 2-salt fish (25-28”) for every two fish caught, and one two-salt for every three fish caught on the Imnaha. Last year, the composition of 1-salts exceeded 80% in each of the Grande Ronde / Imnaha runs. Typically the runs are 60% 1-salt and 40% 2-salt.
- Very little of the run has made it through the Columbia. Of the 15,828 steelhead estimated above Bonneville, only 3,063 (19%) were above McNary Dam. We are still observing a good number of detections each day at Bonneville dam, although not as many as a week ago. We typically see a 70% conversion rate between Bonneville and McNary Dams.
- No PIT tags have been detected in the Imnaha, but one Wallowa fish (fallbrood) was detected on the Wallowa River.