Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 96, Issue 2–3, pp 273–286 | Cite as

Diel movements of out-migrating Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) smolts in the Sacramento/San Joaquin watershed

  • Eric D. Chapman
  • Alex R. Hearn
  • Cyril J. Michel
  • Arnold J. Ammann
  • Steven T. Lindley
  • Michael J. Thomas
  • Philip T. Sandstrom
  • Gabriel P. Singer
  • Matthew L. Peterson
  • R. Bruce MacFarlane
  • A. Peter Klimley
Article

Abstract

We used ultrasonic telemetry to describe the movement patterns of late-fall run Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and steelhead trout (O. mykiss) smolts during their entire emigration down California’s Sacramento River, through the San Francisco Bay Estuary and into the Pacific Ocean. Yearling hatchery smolts were tagged via intracoelomic surgical implantation with coded ultrasonic tags. They were then released at four upriver locations in the Sacramento River during the winters of 2007 through 2010. Late-fall run Chinook salmon smolts exhibited a nocturnal pattern of migration after release in the upper river. This is likely because individuals remain within a confined area during the day, while they become active at night and migrate downstream. The ratio between night and day detections of Chinook salmon smolts decreased with distance traveled downriver. There was a significant preference for nocturnal migration in every reach of the river except the Estuary. In contrast, steelhead smolts, which reside upriver longer following release, exhibited a less pronounced diel pattern during their entire migration. In the middle river, Delta, and Estuary, steelhead exhibited a significant preference for daytime travel. In the ocean Chinook salmon preferred to travel at night, yet steelhead were detected on the monitors equally during the night and day. These data show that closely related Oncorhynchus species, with the same ontogenetic pattern of out-migrating as yearlings, vary in migration tactic.

Keywords

Diel Chinook salmon Steelhead trout Smolt Sacramento River Migration 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric D. Chapman
    • 1
  • Alex R. Hearn
    • 1
  • Cyril J. Michel
    • 2
  • Arnold J. Ammann
    • 2
  • Steven T. Lindley
    • 2
  • Michael J. Thomas
    • 1
  • Philip T. Sandstrom
    • 1
  • Gabriel P. Singer
    • 1
  • Matthew L. Peterson
    • 1
  • R. Bruce MacFarlane
    • 2
  • A. Peter Klimley
    • 1
  1. 1.Wildlife Fish and Conservation BiologyUniversity of California DavisDavisUSA
  2. 2.Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Fisheries Ecology DivisionNational Marine Fisheries ServiceSanta CruzUSA

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