• How are Snake River salmon and steelhead doing today?

    The number of adult Snake River fall Chinook, spring/summer Chinook, steelhead, and sockeye returning to spawn has increased significantly in recent years. Good ocean conditions have likely contributed to these improved returns, but fish passage improvements to the lower Columbia and lower Snake River dams, as well as efforts to restore habitat, have supported the increased returns as well.

    Snake River Sockeye

    Listed as endangered in 1991


    Snake River sockeye swim 900 miles to the ocean and back from Redfish Lake, high in the Sawtooth Mountains. The first Columbia Basin fish to be listed as endangered, Snake River sockeye have been raised solely in hatcheries since the early 1990s. Then, in 2008, returns gradually started increasing. In the past two years, some Snake River sockeye have spawned in the wild. 








    Snake River Steelhead

    Listed as threatened in 1997

    Wild steelhead returns have been increasing since 2006, with an average of 39,000 wild Snake River steelhead returning annually over the last four years.










    Snake River spring/summer Chinook

    Listed as threatened in 1992




    In 2011, nearly 24,000 wild spring/summer Chinook returned to the Snake River basin. Abundance for spring/summer Chinook has been increasing since 2007. These fish spawn in the upper reaches of the Salmon River and other high mountain Idaho rivers.









    Snake River Fall Chinook

    Listed as threatened in 1992




    Roughly 7,900 wild fall Chinook passed Lower Granite in 2011—with strong returns expected again this year. The Nez Perce Tribal Hatchery releases fall chinook smolts in several areas of the Clearwater Basin during the fall chinook migration season. Many spawn in the wild when they return from the ocean two to three years later.





















  • Salmon and steelhead returns to Lower Granite Dam

    The following graphs show fish returns through 2011 for fish that were born in the wild. While hatchery fish make up 80-90 percent of most runs, NOAA Fisheries’ recovery goals for these Endangered Species Act-listed fish are based on wild fish returns.


    You can track fish returns in real time at www.cbr.washington.edu/dart/ or watch them on the fish cam at Bonneville Dam.