The controlled release of dammed water, designed to produce a flushing flow that would remove fine sediments from spawning habitat in a flow-regulated river, did not displace juvenile rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss (20-25 cm total length) downstream. Of eight naturally spawned (wild) and nine hatchery fish that were radio-tagged, only one wild fish and two hatchery fish were found in different locations after an eight-fold increase in flow. These three fish moved upstream and the greatest movement was 96 m. Cobble and boulder substrates in main-channel pools were thought to provide slow-water-velocity refuges during the flushing flow. Our findings and the findings of other researchers suggest that flushing flows can be conducted to enhance spawning habitat for rainbow trout without causing extensive downstream movements or habitat displacement of small fish in regulated rivers.
Additional publication details
Effects of a spring flushing flow on the distribution of radio-tagged juvenile rainbow trout in a Wyoming tailwater