The movements and dam passage of yearling juvenile Chinook salmon implanted with acoustic transmitters and passive integrated transponder tags were studied at Cougar Reservoir and Dam, near Springfield, Oregon. A total of 411 hatchery fish and 26 wild fish were tagged and released between March 7 and May 21, 2011. A series of 16 autonomous hydrophones placed throughout the reservoir were used to determine general fish movements over the life of the acoustic transmitter, which was expected to be 91 days. Movements within the reservoir were directional, and it was common for fish to migrate repeatedly from the head of the reservoir downstream to the dam outlet and back. The dam passage rate was 11.2 percent (95-percent confidence interval 7.8–14.6 percent) for hatchery fish and 15.4 percent (95-percent confidence interval -1.0–31.8 percent) for wild fish within 91 days from release. Most fish passage occurred at night. The median time from release to dam passage was 34.5 days for hatchery fish and 34.2 days for wild fish. A system of hydrophones near the dam outlet, a temperature control tower, was used to estimate positions of fish in three dimensions to enable detailed analyses of fish behavior near the tower. Analyses of these data indicate that hourly averaged depths of fish within a distance of 74 m from the upstream face of the tower ranged from 0.6 to 9.6 meters, with a median depth of 3.6 meters for hatchery fish and 3.4 meters for wild fish. Dam discharge rates and the diurnal period affected the rates of dam passage. Rates of dam passage were similar when the dam discharge rate was less than 1,200 cubic feet per second, but increased sharply at higher discharges. The rate of dam passage at night was 4.4–7.8 times greater than during the day, depending on the distance of fish from the dam. This report is an interim summary of data collected as of August 3, 2011, for planning purposes.
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Interim results from a study of the behavior of juvenile Chinook salmon at Cougar Reservoir and Dam, Oregon, March--August 2011