Fish populations

Bridge across the Lower Columbia River

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What we know about fish populations in lower Columbia River

Salmon Numbers Still Depressed

Our region supports tremendous fish diversity with 74 populations of salmon, steelhead, and bull trout, but only 8 are at or above abundance recovery goals. Assessing adult abundance requires long-term monitoring of fish populations. Distinguishing between hatchery and natural-origin fish has been challenging until recently. Mass marking of Chinook salmon, increased funding for monitoring species such as coho, and monitoring reintroduced populations has improved data collection. Although funding gaps still exist, this now allows for more intensive assessment of population status.

  • Most fall Chinook populations remain at a high or very high risk due to low numbers of natural-spawning fish and competition with hatchery fish on spawning grounds. Work is underway to reduce these impacts, but improvements in habitat also are needed.
  • Spring Chinook require successful reintroduction efforts upstream of dams
  • Chum populations are also at high to very high risk due to very low abundance, with the exception of Grays River and Columbia main stem spawners
  • Coho abundance levels are below recovery goals, but recent monitoring suggests that some populations are stable or show a slightly positive trend
  • Steelhead abundance is low, but recent monitoring suggests moderate improvements in several winter-run populations

Indicator data

Adult Abundance Summary Table

Percent of populations (with sufficient data) above abundance recovery goals

Adult Fish Abundance

Endangered Species Act (ESA) – listed adult abundance

Juvenile Fish Abundance

More data needed

More data is needed to determine region-wide trends for young fish. The limited data available shows 14 populations increasing in numbers and 7 declining.

Peak = [PEAK DENSITY] (juveniles/mile)

Visit How we measure for background about this data, and our Salmon Data Portal for original source data behind the indicator charts and graphs used throughout this site.