A recent shift in water temperature and food abundance could mean good news for salmon and steelhead fishers off the West Coast, according to a recent analysis from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
According to NOAA, this is the best ocean conditions the West Coast has seen in roughly 24 years. NOAA indicated a strong upwelling; cold, salty, low–oxygen water; and high chlorophyll concentrations on the shelf for 2021 off the coast of Newport.
These conditions resulted in higher than average biomass of cold water northern copepods and lower than average biomass of warm water southern copepods.
According to researchers, the average sea temperature mixed with the amount of food made available to young salmon made for good conditions overall this past year. Researchers also observed larger upwellings in these areas during both the winter and spring.
These upwellings brought in colder temperatures from deeper areas of the ocean and pushed it up to the coastline, which is expected to be favorable for both salmon and steelhead migration.