The neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid (IMI) has been proposed as an alternative to carbaryl for controlling indigenous burrowing shrimp on commercial oyster beds in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor, Washington. A focus of concern over the use of this insecticide in an aquatic environment is the potential for adverse effects from exposure to non-target species residing in the Bay, such as juvenile Chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and cutthroat trout (O. clarki). Federal registration and State permiting approval for the use of IMI will require confirmation that the compound does not adversely impact these salmonids following field applications. This will necessitate an environmental monitoring program for evaluating exposure in salmonids following the treatment of beds. Quantification of IMI residues in tissue can be used for determining salmonid exposure to the insecticide. Refinement of an existing protocol using liquid-chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS) detection would provide the low limits of quantification, given the relatively small tissue sample sizes, necessary for determining exposure in individual fish. Such an approach would not be viable for the environmental monitoring effort in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor due to the high costs associated with running multiple analyses, however. A new sample preparation protocol was developed for use with a commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for the quantification of IMI, thereby providing a low-cost alternative to LC-MS for environmental monitoring in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor. Extraction of the analyte from the salmonid brain tissue was achieved by Dounce homogenization in 4.0 mL of 20.0 mM Triton X-100, followed by a 6 h incubation at 50–55 °C. Centrifugal ultrafiltration and reversed phase solid phase extraction were used for sample cleanup. The limit of quantification for an average 77.0 mg whole brain sample was calculated at 18.2 μg kg-1 (ppb) with an average recovery of 79%. This relatively low limit of quantification allows for the analysis of individual fish. Using controlled laboratory studies, a curvelinear relationship was found between the measured IMI residue concentrations in brain tissue and exposure concentrations in seawater. Additonally, a range of IMI brain residue concentrations was associated with an overt effect; illustrating the utility of the IMI tissue residue quantification approach for linking exposure with defined effects.