Record chinook salmon return on Columbia River

The fall chinook salmon run on the Columbia River is the largest ever, and could hit 1 million fish by the time it is done.

The fish count at Bonneville Dam went over 613,700 on Friday, the largest number since the dam was completed in 1938.

The unprecedented abundance has prompted fisheries manager to extend sport, commercial and tribal fishing seasons on the river and expand daily bag limits.

Biologists say it is the result of a perfect combination of abundant food and cool temperatures in the ocean, court-ordered actions over the past decade to make the 14 dams in the Columbia Basin less lethal to fish, and improvements at fish hatcheries, particularly those run by the Nez Perce Tribe in Idaho.

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