VERNITA Columbia River fisheries officials are predicting fewer Chinook salmon will return to the Columbia River next year.
In a report released last week by fisheries biologists, 160,400 Chinook are expected in the spring runs
Another 63,100 summer run Chinook are expected to make it upstream of Vernita Bridge and into the upper Columbia River fisheries system, officials said.
The forecast is down from last year’s total of 256,806 Chinook counted crossing Bonneville Dam on the lower Columbia River.
Meanwhile, officials say they expect to see a sockeye salmon migration of about 198,500 in Columbia River next year.
About 4,000 of those fish will make it into the Yakima River, 1,400 into the Snake River and 54,200 into the Wenatchee River.
Fisheries officials are blaming a warmer Pacific Ocean temperature for the expected decline in salmon next year.