Angler harvest, hatchery return, and tributary stray rates of recycled adult summer steelhead Oncorhynchus mykiss in the Cowlitz River, Washington

River Research and Applications
By: , and 

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Abstract

Hatchery ‘recycling’ programs have been used to increase angling opportunities by re-releasing fish into a river after they returned to a hatchery or fish trap. Recycling is intended to increase opportunities for fishermen, but this strategy could affect wild fish populations if some recycled fish remain in the river and interact with wild fish populations. To quantify hatchery return and angler harvest rates of recycled steelhead, we conducted a 2-year study on the Cowlitz River, Washington. A total of 1051 steelhead were recycled, including 218 fish that were radio-tagged. Fates of recycled steelhead were similar between years: 48.4% returned to the hatchery, 19.2% were reported captured by anglers, and 32.4% remained in the river. A multistate model quantified the effects of covariates on hatchery return and angler harvest rates, which were positively affected by river discharge and negatively affected by time since release. However, hatchery return rates increased and angler harvest rates decreased during periods of increasing discharge. A total of 21.1% (46 fish) of the radio-tagged steelhead failed to return to the hatchery or be reported by anglers, but nearly half of those fish (20 fish) appeared to be harvested and not reported. The remaining tagged fish (11.9% of the radio-tagged population) were monitored into the spawning period, but only five fish (2.3% of the radio-tagged population) entered tributaries where wild steelhead spawning occurs. Future research focused on straying behaviour, and spawning success of recycled steelhead may further advance the understanding of the effects of recycling as a management strategy.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Angler harvest, hatchery return, and tributary stray rates of recycled adult summer steelhead Oncorhynchus mykiss in the Cowlitz River, Washington
Series title River Research and Applications
DOI 10.1002/rra.3023
Volume 32
Issue 8
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Contributing office(s) Western Fisheries Research Center
Description 10 p.
First page 1790
Last page 1799
Country United States
State Washington
Other Geospatial Cowlitz River
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N