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Upstream Migration Timing of Columbia Basin Chinook and Sockeye Salmon and Steelhead in 2014

Mar 31, 2016


In 2014, we sampled Sockeye and Chinook salmon as well as steelhead at the Bonneville Dam Adult Fish Facility. Fish were measured for length and scales collected for later analysis for age and the fish were tagged with Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags. These fish were tracked upstream as they passed through sites with PIT tag antennas, including fish ladders at dams, juvenile bypasses, hatcheries, weirs, as well as in-stream antennas. Total numbers of fish tracked upstream were 1508 spring Chinook, 962 summer Chinook, 1375 fall Chinook, 1400 Sockeye salmon, and 1717 steelhead.


Chinook migration rates between mainstem dams ranged between 21.2 and 41.9 km/day. Most spring Chinook Salmon that traveled upstream of McNary Dam were last detected in the Snake River, most summer Chinook were last detected in the Columbia River upstream of Priest Rapids Dam, and a plurality of fall Chinook were last detected upstream of McNary Dam but downstream of Priest Rapids and Ice Harbor dams. Escapement estimates for the entire Chinook run derived from PIT tag detections result in estimates differing from those estimated by visual counts by -12.9% to +14.8% at mainstem dams.


Steelhead median rates between mainstem dams ranged from 19.9 km to 49.5 km/day. Steelhead classified as B-run (greater or equal to 78 cm fork length) were overwhelmingly last detected in the Snake River. Based on the data reported, the percentage of steelhead classified as B-run at Bonneville Dam reached its highest level on our last week of sampling the week of September 21 at 61.2, with the estimated weekly number of B-run steelhead peaking the week of September 14, 2014 at 14393 fish. A total of 77 PIT tagged steelhead tracked in 2014 were detected moving downstream (mostly in juvenile bypasses) after in 2014 presumably in an attempt to return to the ocean after spawning or detected moving upstream and were designated as kelt.

The estimated stock composition of Sockeye Salmon passing Bonneville Dam based on where PIT tagged Sockeye were last detected was 81.1% Okanogan, 17.5% Wenatchee, 0.4% Yakima, and 1.0% Snake River. The mean migration rate between Bonneville and Rock Island Dam was 40.0 km per day. Sockeye passing Bonneville Dam later in the migration traveled upstream faster than those earlier in the migration.



Fryer, J.K., J. Whiteaker, and D. Kelsey. 2016. Upstream Migration Timing of Columbia Basin Chinook and Sockeye Salmon and Steelhead in 2014. Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission Technical Report 16-01 for U.S. Dept. of Energy Bonneville Power Administration Project 2008-518-00. 108p.



Report No.


Media Type

CRITFC Technical Report