A record number of fall chinook have passed McNary Dam this year to travel on to the Hanford Reach, the Snake River and the Yakima Basin, according to the Columbia River Inter-tribal Fish Commission.
On Monday, 4,672 fall chinook passed over the dam, bringing the number for the year to 456,043. The previous record for the 61-year-old dam, set in 2013, was 454, 991.
Ocean conditions were excellent and migration conditions were good, CRITFC said. The chinook also benefited from the Vernita Bar Agreement — a long-standing effort to protect water flow in the Hanford Reach, tribal work to restore chinook in the Snake River Basin, harvest management in the Pacific Ocean and Columbia River, and work to improve habitat.
Numbers of fall chinook in the Snake River also have rebounded. So far this year 55,610 fall chinook have passed lower Granite Dam near Pomeroy, the second largest return to that dam to date. The Nez Perce Tribe has worked to restore the population.