Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 96, Issue 2–3, pp 363–379 | Cite as

Interannual variation of reach specific migratory success for Sacramento River hatchery yearling late-fall run Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

  • Gabriel P. Singer
  • Alex R. Hearn
  • Eric D. Chapman
  • Matthew L. Peterson
  • Peter E. LaCivita
  • William N. Brostoff
  • Allison Bremner
  • A. P. Klimley


The release of hatchery reared salmonid smolts is a common management tool aimed at enhancing depleted wild stocks and maintaining fisheries throughout Northern California and the Pacific Northwest. In the Sacramento River watershed, smolts must migrate through the river, delta and estuary in order to successfully reach the Pacific Ocean. Migration success (success defined as apparent survival from one monitor location to another) may vary between species, year and habitat. We released 500 late-fall run Chinook salmon and 500 steelhead smolts in 2009 and 2010 in the Sacramento River (river kilometer 207). Each smolt was implanted with a coded ultrasonic tag, which was detected by an array of over 300 underwater receiver stations deployed throughout the system. Less than 25 % of fish migrated successfully to the Pacific Ocean in both years. We found that reach specific success was greater in the Delta in 2009 (>60 %) than in 2010 (<33 %), whereas this pattern was reversed in the Bay (<57 % in 2009, >75 % in 2010). Identifying the location, timing and causes of smolt mortality can lead to improved management of the resource.


Steelhead trout Chinook salmon Telemetry Sacramento River Migratory success San Francisco Estuary 



Funding for this project was provided by the San Francisco Bay Long Term Management Study through the San Francisco District of the United States Army Corps of Engineers. This project could not have been completed without the help and support of the following people: Ethan Mora, Mike Thomas, Phil Sandstrom, Cyril Michel, Arnold Ammann, Kurtis Brown, Scott Hamelburg, David Woodbury and members of the California Fish Tracking Consortium.


  1. Akaike H (1973) Information theory and an extension of the maximum likelihood principle. In: Petrov B, Cazalo F (eds) Proceedings of the second international symposium on information theory. Akademiai Kiado, Budapest, pp 267–281Google Scholar
  2. Ammann A, Delaney N, Michel C, MacFarlane R (2011) The effects of surgically implanted acoustic tags on laboratory growth, survival, and swimming performance of hatchery yearling chinook salmon. Environ Biol Fish (this issue)Google Scholar
  3. Brandes P, McLain J (2001) Juvenile Chinook salmon abundance, distribution, and survival in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Estuary. Contributions to the biology of Central Valley salmonids 2, 39–138 CA DFG Fish Bull 179Google Scholar
  4. Brannon E, Amend D, Cronin M, Lannan J, LaPatra S, McNeil W, Noble R, Smith C, Talbot A, Wedemeyer G, Westers H (2004) The controversy about salmon hatcheries. Fish 29(9):12–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Campos C, Massa D (2010) Lower Yuba river monitoring and evaluation plan: annual rotary screw trapping report October 1, 2007–September 30, 2008. Prepared for the Lower Yuba River accord planning team. September 13, 2010Google Scholar
  6. Chapman E, Hearn A, Michel C, Sandstrom P, Ammann A, Thomas M, Singer G, Lindley S, Peterson M, MacFarlane R, Klimley A (2012) Diel movements of outmigrating Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) smolts in the Sacramento/San Joaquin Watershed. Environ Biol Fish (this issue)Google Scholar
  7. Dickhoff W, Beckman B, Larsen D, Mahnken C, Schreck C, Sharpe C, Zaugg W (1995) Quality assessment of hatchery- reared spring Chinook salmon smolts in the Columbia River Basin. In: Uses and effects of cultured fish aquatic ecosystems. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, pp 292–302Google Scholar
  8. Fischer A, Hanemann W, Keeler A (1991) Integrating fishery and water resource management: a biological model of a Califronia salmon fishery. J Environ Econ Manag 20:234–261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fulton T (1902) Rate of growth of seas fishes. Sci Invest Fish Div Scotl Rep 20Google Scholar
  10. Huntington C, Nehlsen W, Bowers J (1996) A survey of healthy native stocks of anadromous salmonids in the Pacific Northwest and California. Fish 21(3):6–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kjelson M, Raquel P, Fisher F (1981) The life-history of fall run juvenile Chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, in the Sacramento San Joaquin Estuary of California. Estuaries 4(3):285–285Google Scholar
  12. Kostow K (2009) Factors that contribute to the ecological risks of salmon and steelhead hatchery programs and some mitigating strategies. Rev Fish Biol Fish 19(1):9–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Lacroix G, McCurdy P (2004) Effects of implanted dummy acoustic transmitters on juvenile Atlantic salmon. Trans Am Fish Soc 133(1):211–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. MacFarlane RB, Norton EC (2002) Physiological ecology of juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) at the southern end of their distribution, the San Francisco Estaury and Gulf of the Farallones, California. Fish Bull 100(2):244–257Google Scholar
  15. Mahnken C, Prentice E, Waknitz W, Monan G, Sims C, Williams J (1982) The application of recent smoltification research to public hatchery releases – an assessment of size time requirements for Columbia River Hatchery Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch). Aquaculture 28(1–2):251–268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Martinelli T, Hansel H, Shively R (1998) Growth and physiological responses to surgical and gastric radio transmitter implantation techniques in subyearling Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Hydrobiologia 371–372:79–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. McEwan D (2001) Central Valley Steelhead. Contributions to the biology of Central Valley salmonids, Fish Bull 179 CA DFGGoogle Scholar
  18. Meffe G (1992) Technoarrogance and halfway technologies – Salmon hatcheries on the Pacific Coast of North America. Conserv Biol 6(3):350–354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Melnychuk M (2009) Estimation of survival and detection probabilities for multiple tagged salmon stocks with nested migration routes, using a large scale telemetry array. Mar Freshw Res 60(12):1231–1243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Melnychuk M, Welch D, Walkters C (2010) Spatio-temporal migration patterns of Pacific Salmon smolts in rivers and coastal marine waters. PLoS One 5:9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Moyle P (2002) Inland fishes of California. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  22. Muir W, Smith S, Williams J, Sandford B (2001) Survival estimates for migrant yearling Chinook salmon and steelhead tagged with passive integrated transponder in the lower Snake and lower Columbia Rivers, 1993–1998. N Am J Fish Manag 21(2):269–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Myers R, Levin S, Lande R, James F, Murdoch W, Paine R (2004) Hatcheries and endangered salmon. Science 303(5666):1980–1980PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Newman K (2003) Modeling paired release-recovery data in the presence of survival and capture heterogeneity with application to marked juvenile salmon. Stat Model 3(3):157–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Newman K, Brandes P (2010) Hierarchical modeling of juvenile Chinook salmon survival as a function of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta water exports. N Am J Fish Manag 30(1):157–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Newman K, Rice J (2002) Modeling the survival of juvenile Chinook salmon smolts outmigrating through the lower Sacramento River system. J Am Stat Assoc 97(460):983–993CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. NMFS (2004) Notices. Fed Regist 69:73Google Scholar
  28. Perry R, Skalski J, Brandes P, Sandstrom P, Klimley AP, Ammann A, MacFarlane RB (2010) Estimating survival and migration route probabilities of juvenile Chinook salmon in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. N Am J Fish Manag 30(1):142–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Quinn T (2005) The behavior and ecology of Pacific salmon and trout. University of Washington Press, SeattleGoogle Scholar
  30. Sandstrom P, Keegan T, Singer G (2012) Survival and movement patterns of Central California Coast native steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in the Napa River. Environ Biol Fish (this issue)Google Scholar
  31. Sims C, Ossiander F (1981) Migrations of juvenile Chinook salmon and steelhead in the Snake River, from 1973 to 1979, a research summary. Report to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Contract DACW68-78-0038Google Scholar
  32. Smith S, Muir W, Williams J, Skalski J (2002) Factors associated with travel time and survival of migrant yearling Chinook salmon and steelhead in the lower Snake River. N Am J Fish Manag 22(2):385–405CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. USBR (2008) Central Valley Project and State Water Project operations criteria and plan biological assessment. http://usbr.gov/mp/cvo/OCAP/docs/OCAP_BA_2008.pdf Accessed 5 September 2011
  34. Welch D, Rechisky E, Melnychuk M, Porter A, Walters C, Clements S, Clemens B, McKinley R, Schrek C (2008) Survival of migrating salmon smolts in larger rivers with and without dams. Plos Biol 6(12):2940–2940CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Welch D, Melnychuk M, Rechisky E, Porter A, Jacobs M, Ladouceur A, McKinley R, Jackson G (2009) Freshwater and marine migration and survival of endangered Cultus Lake sockeye salmo (Oncorhynchus nerka) smolts using POST, a large-scale acoustic telemetry array. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 66(5):739–750Google Scholar
  36. White GC, Burnham KP (1999) Program MARK: survival estimation from populations of marked animals. Bird Study 46(1 supp 1):120–139Google Scholar
  37. Yoshiyama R, Fisher F, Moyle P (1998) Historical abundance and decline of Chinook salmon in the Central Valley region of California. N Am J Fish Manag 18(3):487–521CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Yoshiyama R, Gerstung E, Fisher F, Moyle P (2000) Chinook salmon in the California Central Valley: an assessment. Fish 25(2):6–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabriel P. Singer
    • 1
  • Alex R. Hearn
    • 1
  • Eric D. Chapman
    • 1
  • Matthew L. Peterson
    • 1
  • Peter E. LaCivita
    • 2
  • William N. Brostoff
    • 2
  • Allison Bremner
    • 2
  • A. P. Klimley
    • 1
  1. 1.Biotelemetry Lab, Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation BiologyUniversity of California, DavisDavisUSA
  2. 2.San Francisco District of the United States Army Corps of EngineersSan FranciscoUSA

Personalised recommendations