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  1. #19
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    Re: How Many American River Salmon and Steelhead Eggs will be Destroyed?

    Jay_R, thank you for coming on here and addressing questions and concerns raised by fellow anglers. Too often hearsay and incorrect facts run rampant, leading to misinformed and angry anglers.

    It would really be nice to see more people in positions like yourself, be visible and part of a civil discussion on fishing boards like this. Hope you continue

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  3. #18
    Member steeliesNstripers's Avatar
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    Re: How Many American River Salmon and Steelhead Eggs will be Destroyed?

    Folsom is at 64% of capacity. If the storm turns warm, even at 5,000 ft elevation, one hell of a lot of snow is going to melt and Folsom Lake could see incoming flows upwards of 50,000 cfs in the next 3-5 days. .

    As much as I do not like DWR and its historical indifference to our fisheries and delta ecology... I give them props for how they have managed the releases at Nimbus Dam for the last 2 years. It's difficult to pattern weather and precipitation when the weather gods give back-to-back record years of snow following 5 years of drought.

    When all is said and done, there will still be PLENTY of water this summer due to the HUGE base of snow in the Sierra Mt Range and the fact that ALL of our reservoirs will be at or above annual average in a matter of weeks.

    On a brighter note... Thankfully, Gavin Newsom announced his opposition to the Waterfix (twin tunnels) Project today. Likely, MWD will mostly foot the bill for ONE tunnel which is better than what many expected...

    Be grateful we are having abundant rain and snow this season and particularly in February.

    As far as destruction of redds... Studies show that steelhead are well-adapted to high-water years and even flood events and that eggs remain safely beneath the gravel until the alevin stage.

    How often do you catch an ADULT steelhead with an adipose fin on the American River anyway? Rarely... because natural spawning in the AR accounts for less than 1% (and very probably a small fraction of that) of the returning adult steelhead population.

    For every 'wild' (there actually is no such thing on the AR) steelhead which is displaced by heavy flows, I guarantee there are at least 100 if not more hatchery smolts released in the river which will survive the trip out to sea BECAUSE the flows were 15,000 to 60,000 cfs.

    CDFW will begin releasing the 435,000 steelhead smolts any day now and escapement 2-3 years from now will be improved again, because of the high flows.

    We are having a banner year on the AR this year (I'm pretty sure Nimbus hatchery has welcomed over 3,000 fish up the ladder by now...) because in March of 2016 we had 20,000 cfs to carry the hatchery smolts out to sea and in February and March of 2017 we had 36,000 cfs and 64,000 cfs respectively.

    In the case of precipitation and healthy fisheries... Less is NOT more~

  4. #17
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    Re: How Many American River Salmon and Steelhead Eggs will be Destroyed?

    FWIW Iím the CDFW supervisor for Nimbus, Mokelumne, and Feather River hatcheries. Iím an avid angler and I grew up fishing every river and reservoir in this area, including fishing for salmon on the Feather and American. I also worked several summers on my uncleís commercial salmon boat up in BC. I fully understand both the commercial and recreational importance of these fisheries. The reason I got into this field was because of all the time I spent at my Grandfathers side throwing flies on some little creek, or trolling for trout and kokanee, or staying up till midnight telling stories while mending nets. I want to pass that along to my kids too. The vast majority of the hatchery and fisheries staff are the same. There is nothing nefarious going on behind the scenes, or inexperienced people that donít care, or big ego trips. We do the best we can to manage fisheries in the most complex and highly managed water delivery system the world has ever seen. Sometimes the only options available to choose from are bad and maybe less bad.

    On the bright side, the steelhead run has trended up the last few years and this year is the most fish the American has had in a decade or more.

    If you all have questions about this stuff just call or come into the Rancho Cordova office and ask. I'm happy to discuss and give you the real scoop.[/QUOTE]


    Jay_R, Thank you for some real facts to put on the "flames".

  5. #16
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    Re: How Many American River Salmon and Steelhead Eggs will be Destroyed?

    Wow. There is a lot going on in this thread and I’d like to address some of the concerns and comments.

    Egg culling: Nimbus, like every hatchery, has goals for egg take and fish production. Extra eggs are taken to account for losses from disease, warm water during incubation, sediment and debris from flooding, etc. If things go well, as they do in most years, there are eggs that are in excess of the number of fish that can be raised that are culled. If things go bad, and there is a lot of loss (flood 2 years ago clogging the water intake, high losses during incubation from warm water during the drought), then the hatchery can likely still make the fish production goals. In the case of Nimbus, the fish production goal number is based on available raceway space and fish density that will provide maximum growth rates. Crowded fish are at higher risk of disease and very important for Nimbus, they grow slower. Lot's of data out to show that the later we get in the migration season (May and later) the worse the returns are for a given release. Nimbus is already releasing the last batches of fish in late May and early June. The salmon run comes in late in the American so that is the earliest they can get those late egg take groups to size, smolted, and be ready to enter salt water. In May and June the water in the river, Delta, and bay start to heat up, pumping for ag. increases, Cross Channel gates are open, etc. Those fish need to get to size, smolt, and into the ocean as quickly as possible. Delays in release dates caused by less than optimal growth rates from crowded conditions in the raceway will result in fewer adult fish returning not more even if more are fish planted, because the survival of fish released later is far lower.

    Barging: Despite what you are hearing on the radio and reading on the interwebs, Mokelumne hatchery does not, and is not, barging their salmon as a regular release practice. There was a 3-year study conducted by Mokelumne hatchery using 100,000 fish each year to determine if barging could: 1) Reduce stray rate over fish trucked directly to the golden gate 2) Increase survival over fish released directly in river. Feather River Hatchery conducted the same study. The 3-year old’s from the last year of the Mok. study just came back this year so it is way too premature to say anything about results at this point. The numbers being floated out there are not considering all the ocean, hatchery, river spawn, and river catch information for all the years and have not been expanded to account for differences in tagging rates among all the release strategies. We had at least 9 different release locations and strategies just out of MOK the years the study was conducted, but only 2 numbers are being thrown out there and there is no way this years returns were taken into account yet.
    If the data does come back and show there is better survival or less straying than some other release practices, there are still some huge hurdles to overcome before barging could be implemented as a regular practice. FRH, NIM, and MOK release around 18 million Chinook per year. Each release is typically around 500,000 fish and it takes five 2,800-gallon tanker trucks (that’s the size of the gas trucks you see driving down the road) one day per release. It takes about 8 weeks and 35-40 truckloads. The barge experiment released 100,000 fish and it took 3 days each trip. Using that barge, (the boat, fuel, and time were donated by a commercial fisherman for that study) it would take 180 trips and 540 days to get rid of 18-million fish. To be viable, a barge would need tanks large enough to hold 250,000-500,000 fish. 30,000 gallons or more of holding tank capacity, pumps, oxygen bottles, pull boats, etc. and it would need to draft shallow enough to navigate our rivers. You're not going over to Larson's Marine to pick a few of those up off the lot. Millions of dollars to build and hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to operate. Best to know if it works and to what extent before investing that kind of taxpayer $$$. The Mokelumne river and hatchery is having a lot of success with fish returning for a variety of reasons. Barging fish is way down on the list of reasons why the runs there are up and others are down.

    Basin: The basin was closed in anticipation of construction of a new fish ladder. F&G Code states there is no fishing with-in 200 yards of a fishway or ladder, which will be the case when the ladder is built. The ladder was supposed to be started in 18, then 19, and now it’s projected in 20 or 21. The reg. cycle is such that the closure had to be put forward and was adopted before it was known there was going to be a project delay.

    Natural origin vs. hatchery. There are years that the American is comprised of up to 30% natural origin (NO) fish. NO fish are fish that were spawned in the river, but the parents may have been hatchery or NO. It should come as no surprise that 3 years after a good water year we typically have higher NO percentages than 3 years after low water years, but not always. River management has a say in that outcome. You can read more about all that by going to the link provided below and searching for: “Recovery of Coded-Wire Tags from Chinook Salmon in California’s Central Valley Escapement”. It’s a lot of heavy reading but table 8 or 9 depending on the year you open will tell you the percentage of hatchery vs. NO and give you actual expanded numbers for all the different tag recovery points and release types for the year. https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/documents/docviewer.aspx The point being that in some years actually have a fairly significant natural origin component in the river.

    Hatchery Reform: California and CV hatcheries are undergoing hatchery reform. You can read all about it http://cahatcheryreview.com/ Many of these recommendations have already been implemented, others are planned, and some, like releasing all fish at the hatchery, still need a lot of information and data collected to determine if that’s actually the right direction to go. Those studies are being conducted but it takes a lot of time to evaluate when you don’t get the fish back to see what did and didn’t work for 3-4 years after you let them go.

    FWIW I’m the CDFW supervisor for Nimbus, Mokelumne, and Feather River hatcheries. I’m an avid angler and I grew up fishing every river and reservoir in this area, including fishing for salmon on the Feather and American. I also worked several summers on my uncle’s commercial salmon boat up in BC. I fully understand both the commercial and recreational importance of these fisheries. The reason I got into this field was because of all the time I spent at my Grandfathers side throwing flies on some little creek, or trolling for trout and kokanee, or staying up till midnight telling stories while mending nets. I want to pass that along to my kids too. The vast majority of the hatchery and fisheries staff are the same. There is nothing nefarious going on behind the scenes, or inexperienced people that don’t care, or big ego trips. We do the best we can to manage fisheries in the most complex and highly managed water delivery system the world has ever seen. Sometimes the only options available to choose from are bad and maybe less bad.

    On the bright side, the steelhead run has trended up the last few years and this year is the most fish the American has had in a decade or more.

    If you all have questions about this stuff just call or come into the Rancho Cordova office and ask. I'm happy to discuss and give you the real scoop.
    Last edited by Jay_R; 02-12-2019 at 04:45 PM.

  6. #15
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    Re: How Many American River Salmon and Steelhead Eggs will be Destroyed?

    Yea, itís definitely egos. Iím sure 100ís of anglers would volunteer to barge smoky through the river. JD even said the Moke fishery shared some tips to raise them more efficiently and the other hatcheries brushes it off. Itís bull****.


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  7. #14
    Senior Member stefanoflo's Avatar
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    Re: How Many American River Salmon and Steelhead Eggs will be Destroyed?

    maybe the Egos Involved in the Other hatcheries can`t See or don`t want to have the fish Barged out . Im sure they can get help in doing it .maybe they don`t want to look dumb in doing someone else's Ideas That work , They would rather look stupid doing what is not giving good results..bad is Job Security in this State!
    Like I say , just because you have a Degree on the wall does not mean your smart!!! some make that paper worth what is really is meant for and other make it worth the same paper that on the roll in your restroom .you need to care with Passion and that comes from within!!!! Egos have no place , but caring does!!!

    A Life spent fishing, is never wasted.

  8. #13
    Senior Member stefanoflo's Avatar
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    Re: How Many American River Salmon and Steelhead Eggs will be Destroyed?

    Quote Originally Posted by jjb View Post
    Well, for one the Moke barges their smolts down. I just listened to JD (guide) on a podcast and if they donít barge the smolts they get 1% return versus 4% if they do barge them down. All other hatcheries need to take that into consideration. Also brood-stock would be a great idea. I believe the Mad river does this.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I heard the same Podcast on Barbless.co
    They have great info and guess, I believe its out of Chico,
    here sthe latest from Today's . about raising salmon in Rice fields.

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7TWUbhIdWs

    A Life spent fishing, is never wasted.

  9. #12
    Senior Member MtnFisher's Avatar
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    Re: How Many American River Salmon and Steelhead Eggs will be Destroyed?

    Quote Originally Posted by stefanoflo View Post
    After giving it a Thought without letting My Passion for fishing Interfere with My Mind set.. It`s sad about the American were 2013 it was a great returns. and I saw Steelhead all lover the Place . so let me ask . Compare to the Mokes way of doing things . does the American need Pulse Flows for a good return??? Granted if they got extra eggs . Like it was Posted. They will be tossed Out. so who is in charge of getting those in charge of the Hatchery Operations . Maybe pressure from Outside groups or those that Pay there Salaries Like the Licensed Fisherman and Start a PROTEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! should be gathered about The American and how it is being Operated. Granted they raise trout for other rivers and Lakes. maybe thats the Priority. Trout first and Steelhead and Salmon later???. if you ever been to the Moke It`s More of a Tucked away trout streams that brings up Salmon and Steelhead with a Wild resident in the river as well. its a healthy river that shuts down 2-3 Time s a year to rest it, maybe the American need to rest it at times, But then again Like you said get the Quota and kill the Eggs . .

    Like Egg Abortion for fish!!!!!!!!
    Smolticide! Eggicide!

    Begin and organize a date for a protest at the American River hatchery to stop this madness and "wanton waste" of California's natural resources.


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  10. #11
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    Re: How Many American River Salmon and Steelhead Eggs will be Destroyed?

    Well, for one the Moke barges their smolts down. I just listened to JD (guide) on a podcast and if they donít barge the smolts they get 1% return versus 4% if they do barge them down. All other hatcheries need to take that into consideration. Also brood-stock would be a great idea. I believe the Mad river does this.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  11. #10
    Senior Member stefanoflo's Avatar
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    Re: How Many American River Salmon and Steelhead Eggs will be Destroyed?

    After giving it a Thought without letting My Passion for fishing Interfere with My Mind set.. It`s sad about the American were 2013 it was a great returns. and I saw Steelhead all lover the Place . so let me ask . Compare to the Mokes way of doing things . does the American need Pulse Flows for a good return??? Granted if they got extra eggs . Like it was Posted. They will be tossed Out. so who is in charge of getting those in charge of the Hatchery Operations . Maybe pressure from Outside groups or those that Pay there Salaries Like the Licensed Fisherman and Start a PROTEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! should be gathered about The American and how it is being Operated. Granted they raise trout for other rivers and Lakes. maybe thats the Priority. Trout first and Steelhead and Salmon later???. if you ever been to the Moke It`s More of a Tucked away trout streams that brings up Salmon and Steelhead with a Wild resident in the river as well. its a healthy river that shuts down 2-3 Time s a year to rest it, maybe the American need to rest it at times, But then again Like you said get the Quota and kill the Eggs . .

    Like Egg Abortion for fish!!!!!!!!
    Last edited by stefanoflo; 02-08-2019 at 05:23 PM.

    A Life spent fishing, is never wasted.

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