Is the 2017 Willamette Spring Chinook Fishery really in that bad of shape?
With a prediction of only 40,200 adult spring chinook, fishermen and women in Willmaette may be left scratching their heads this coming spring.
The 2016 forecast of 70,100 resulted in a run of just 49,800. Forecasting the fish returns can be tough. Biologists can be wrong. It is hard to really know exactly what is going on out there in the ocean. I do not envy the job that the ODFW biologists have with forecasting returns. For everyone's sake that love to fish and hope for good returns, I hope they are wrong this year.
A Little Caution
Biologist have already cautioned Fall Chinook anglers to expect a less than stellar run for this coming season as well.
Honestly, I'd rather try to forecast the weather. In fact, I believe fish are the best at forecasting the weather. They know when to spawn and when the water levels will allow them to travel upriver from the ocean. At this point officials are not sure whether the preliminary predictions will lead to any restrictions for anglers this coming season. Only time will tell.
On The Bright Side
The 2017 sockeye forecast is 198,500, although 2016's forecast of 101,600 came in much higher at 354,000. Looks like there is at least a glimmer of hope out there for the sockeye fishermen. However, until the fish begin to show we really won't know what to expect. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Qci5d7a-24
Of course, all of this is just a preliminary forecast for the fishery and biologist will amend it as the season approaches. Much like the meteorologist change the forecast as time progresses. Lucky for us we can all sit back and hope for something better. At this point, it really can't get that much worse.