CDFW Releases Over 2 Million Juvenile Salmon into Klamath River

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) recently completed the release of more than 2 million fall-run Chinook salmon smolts into the Klamath River. This significant effort took place over two days: approximately 1.3 million smolts were released on May 15, followed by an additional 800,000 on May 22.

The salmon smolts, each about six months old and just under 3 inches in length, were transported from CDFW’s new Fall Creek Fish Hatchery to a release point below the Iron Gate Dam, a journey of about 7 miles. The smolts were tagged and had their adipose fins clipped for future identification and data collection.

This operation marks a successful debut for the Fall Creek Fish Hatchery, which replaced the 63-year-old Iron Gate Fish Hatchery. The new facility has already surpassed its production goal of 3.25 million salmon in its first year, benefiting from the excellent water quality in Fall Creek and the improved efficiencies of the hatchery.

The early release of the smolts was prompted by rising temperatures in the Klamath Basin and concerns over C. Shasta disease, a freshwater parasite that affects young salmon in warmer waters. Cooler temperatures this week alleviated these concerns, ensuring the safe release of the smolts.

The release coincides with the ongoing removal of three Klamath River dams—JC Boyle, Copco 1, and Iron Gate—which is progressing ahead of schedule. This dam removal is expected to open up hundreds of miles of new spawning and rearing habitat for salmon returning from the ocean as early as this fall.

Later this year, CDFW plans another release of 250,000 to 300,000 yearling fall-run Chinook salmon. If dam removal continues on schedule, these fish will be released directly from the Fall Creek Fish Hatchery into Fall Creek, a newly accessible habitat for salmon.

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button