The fish count is up – way up: returning fall Chinook salmon have set a new record on the Columbia River.
Since Sunday, more than 180,354 adult fall Chinook have climbed the fish ladders at Bonneville Dam on their annual migration into the Columbia River Basin.
Sunday’s count of 67,024 Chinook was soon surpassed by Monday’s return of 67,521 – marking the largest, single-day return since counting began with the construction of Bonneville Dam dam in 1938.
By Wednesday, Mike Moscoe of Portland had landed one of them.
The previous record of 63,870 had been set less than a year ago on Sept. 9, 2013. On Tuesday, the numbers held strong with 45,809 Chinook swimming past the fish counting windows at the dam.
Here, four-year-old Luke Fisher marvels at the mass swimming by.
The fish are among the 359,258 fall Chinook seen thus far at Bonneville Dam. These numbers are only a fraction of the predicted 1.5 million adult fall Chinook returning by the end of 2014.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers credits a collaboration of federal, tribal, state and non-profit organizations for improving conditions that allow more salmon to make it past the dam.