Investigating passage of ESA-listed juvenile fall Chinook salmon at Lower Granite Dam during winter when the fish bypass system is not operated. 2006 Annual Report

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Abstract

During the winter of 2005-06, we radio and PIT tagged and released 48 juvenile fall Chinook salmon to evaluate over-wintering behavior and dam passage in the lower Snake River, Washington. Fish were released at the upstream end of the Lower Granite Dam forebay in November and December 2005. Fixed radio telemetry detection sites located in forebay and tailrace areas of Lower Granite, Little Goose, Lower Monumental and Ice Harbor dams were used to monitor fish movements and dam passage through early-May 2006. Of the 48 fish released during our study, 39 (81 %) passed Lower Granite Dam and were detected at downstream detection sites, 29 (60%) passed Little Goose Dam, 25 (52%) passed Lower Monumental Dam, and 15 (31%) passed Ice Harbor Dam. Thirty-seven (95%), 23 (79%), 16 (64%), and 9 (60%) of the fish that passed Lower Granite, Little Goose, Lower Monumental, and Ice Harbor dams respectively, did so when the fish bypass system was not operated. Passage of tagged fish past lower Snake River dams generally declined during the winter, but increased again after bypass began in April. Fish residence times in reservoirs and forebays was lengthy during the winter (up to 118 d), and varied by reservoir and time of year. We observed no diel passage trends. Only 15 of the 48 fish were subsequently detected at a PIT-tag interrogation site the following spring. We believe that passage of overwintering juvenile fall Chinook salmon during winter is due more to chance than directed downstream movement. Since the primary route of passage during the winter is through powerhouse turbines, the potential exists for increased mortality for over-wintering juvenile fall Chinook salmon in the Snake River. Our findings also have implications for transportation studies of subyearling fall Chinook salmon in the Snake River. Specifically, the finding that some fish can pass undetected during the winter may bias smolt-to-adult return rate calculations that are typically used to measure the success of the aforementioned management actions.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype Other Government Series
Title Investigating passage of ESA-listed juvenile fall Chinook salmon at Lower Granite Dam during winter when the fish bypass system is not operated. 2006 Annual Report
Year Published 2007
Language English
Publisher Bonneville Power Administration
Contributing office(s) Western Fisheries Research Center
Description iv., 16 p.
Country United States
State Washington
Other Geospatial Snake river
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