Fish populations

Home > Upper Columbia River > Fish populations

What we know about fish populations in the upper Columbia River

Wild salmon continue to need our help

The four subbasins of the upper Columbia River support 16 demographically-independent populations of salmon, steelhead, and bull trout. Thirteen of these populations are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. In the past 3 years we have seen major declines in some salmon runs due to poor ocean conditions and poor habitat conditions caused by drought and fire. Spring Chinook (endangered), steelhead (threatened), and coho have seen very low returns compared to the 10-year average for those species. Sockeye also have seen major declines the past 2 years and summer Chinook have shown normal to low returns. This trend is expected to continue for the next several years due to the lasting effects of poor ocean conditions from 2014-2017.

Indicator Data

Adult Abundance Summary Table
Adult Fish Populations
Juvenile Fish Populations

What does this indicator mean?

Juvenile populations on the rise

The numbers of juvenile Chinook salmon and steelhead in the rivers where they are measured all showed increases except the steelhead in the Wenatchee River. Fish counts were taken in the Chiwawa, Methow, Twisp, and Wenatchee Rivers. That could be good news for future salmon and steelhead runs.

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.