Little information currently exists on habitat use by subyearling fall Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha rearing in large, main-stem habitats. We collected habitat use information on subyearlings in the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River during May 1994 and April-May 1995 using point abundance electrofishing. We analyzed measures of physical habitat using logistic regression to predict fish presence and absence in shoreline habitats. The difference between water temperature at the point of sampling and in the main river channel was the most important variable for predicting the presence and absence of subyearlings. Mean water velocities of 45 cm/s or less and habitats with low lateral bank slopes were also associated with a greater likelihood of subyearling presence. Intermediate-sized gravel and cobble substrates were significant predictors of fish presence, but small (<32-mm) and boulder-sized (>256-mm) substrates were not. Our rearing model was accurate at predicting fish presence and absence using jackknifing (80% correct) and classification of observations from an independent data set (76% correct). The habitat requirements of fall Chinook salmon in the Hanford Reach are similar to those reported for juvenile Chinook salmon in smaller systems but are met in functionally different ways in a large river.
Additional publication details
Variables influencing the presence of subyearling fall Chinook salmon in shoreline habitats of the Hanford Reach, Columbia River