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Klamath’s fall run of chinook promising; Numbers slightly up from recent years

by Kurt Madar, The Triplicate 8/1/09

This fall’s Klamath River run of chinook salmon is projected to be slightly better than in recent years, experts say.

Their views reinforce a report released by the Klamath River Technical Advisory Team in the spring that estimated the number of 2-year-old Klamath-spawned chinook in the ocean at about 500,000.

California Department of Fish and Game fisheries biologist Sara Borok said that while not all of these fish would be returning as 3-year-olds, the run would be slightly higher than average.

“We are predicting 131,000 to 139,000 3-year-olds in the Klamath,” Borok said. “If you consider that the average for the last 29 years was 121,000, this is a slightly higher run than normal.”

Borok said despite early optimism, last year’s run ended up being smaller than average, with less than 100,000 fish.

“We’ve had a couple of good years of ocean conditions for salmon,” Borok said to explain why the numbers are looking better.

Fish and game senior biologist Larry Hanson cautiously predicted last spring that the area might be looking at the start of an upswing in salmon populations.

Based on the current projections, Hanson is still optimistic nearly five months later.

“For the first time in two years we are going to have a recreational ocean salmon fishing season,” Hanson said.

The limited ocean fishing season runs from Aug. 29 to Sept. 7.

Commercial salmon fishing on the ocean will be closed for another season.

Added to the recreational fishing in the ocean is a large allocation for in-river sport fishing. Allocation is the number of adult salmon allowed to be harvested; in the case of sport fishing fishermen are allowed to take three year old fish.

“We have a record level allocation for this season on the Klamath,” Hanson said. “The in-river sport fishery has been allocated 30,800 fish and the tribes have been allocated 30,900.”
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