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Chinook returns in Columbia River could be near-record low

A Chinook salmon, along with a school of shad, pass through the viewing room at McNary Lock and Dam on the Columbia River, June 7, 2005 near Umatilla, Oregon. (Jeff T. Green/Getty Images)

Washington state authorities say returns of spring chinook to the Columbia River this year could hit near-record low numbers due to poor ocean conditions.

This year’s forecasted return of 81,700 upriver spring chinook is up 12% from last year, which was the lowest number of returning spring chinook since 1999. New fishing regulations this year for the Columbia River set the season at April 1 to May 5.

The expected harvest is about 340 adult chinook above the Bonneville Dam and 2,500 below it.

Fishing regulations have yet to be set for this year for spring chinook on the Snake River, but the catch is expected to be similarly constrained.

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