❝ Ninety-nine percent of the Snake River sockeye counted at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River near Portland in 2015 died before reaching Idaho’s Sawtooth Valley.
Unprecedented and lethally high temperatures in the Columbia, Snake and even Salmon rivers killed all but a few dozen of Idaho’s 4,000 adult endangered sockeye that had returned to the Columbia last June and July. Most years, more than 50 percent of the adults that survive their early life in Redfish Lake, migrate to the Pacific as juveniles and spend two years in the ocean return to spawn.
That means the 2015 return would have been the highest in more than 50 years, had temperatures been normal.
❝ The sockeye would have gone extinct in the 1990s if not for the successful captive broodstock program created after the fish was declared endangered in 1991.
Just 2 percent of the 475,000 Okanagon River sockeye seen at Bonneville returned to their spawning grounds in Washington. Most of both populations died in the Columbia beginning in June when the water warmed to above 68 degrees, the temperature at which salmon begin to die. It got up to 73 degrees in July.
No sockeye that reached the Columbia River after July 16 completed the trip to Idaho.
Don’t worry, folks. Climate change is only something that eggheads care about. Folks who fish the great Western rivers will adjust quietly, quickly.
Surely, they will be as happy forking for carp as catch-and-release fly-fishing for salmon. 🙂