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Ecology and salmon related articles

Flash Flood Kills
Broodstock Chinook Salmon

by Staff
Idaho Statesman, August 14, 2014

Cleaned Fall Chinook Fisheries managers with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game are assessing damage to summer chinook stocks after severe rainstorms flooded the South Fork of the Salmon River fish trap and killed hundreds of adult salmon needed for broodstock.

The storms developed rapidly over the nearby mountains Aug. 6 and sent a torrent downstream, choking the stream with sediment within minutes.

The sediment flowed into holding ponds at the Fish and Game's trapping facility and suffocated the fish.

Fish and Game and Nez Perce Tribe workers rushed tanker trucks to the trapping facility to save as many broodstock chinook as they could.

They reported saving about 200 adults, while an estimated 1,200 were lost. A few more fish were expected to return, but the peak of the run is over.

"Broodstock losses will significantly impact the number of eggs for the Fish and Game McCall hatchery program and the Nez Perce Tribe's Johnson Creek program in 2014," F&G Anadromous Fisheries Coordinator Sam Sharr said.

The biggest impact will be significantly fewer adult chinook returning to the South Fork Salmon in 2018.

Summer chinook typically run in a four-year cycle, returning to where their parents spawned four years earlier.

The surviving fish were transferred to the Rapid River Hatchery near Riggins, where they will be spawned over the next several weeks.

F&G is working with the tribe in hopes of minimizing the impact to hatchery and natural origin chinook salmon in the South Fork drainage.

"F&G, the Nez Perce Tribe and other cooperators in the basin are planning alternative broodstock collection options to make up for some of the losses incurred at the South Fork Salmon trapping facility," Sharr said.

The South Fork the Salmon River provides a popular salmon fishing season. The fish typically arrive in the river in June and fishing season usually runs through the Fourth of July weekend.

Flash Flood Kills Broodstock Chinook Salmon
Idaho Statesman, August 14, 2014

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