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Idaho Redd Counts Stay High for Spring Chinook

by Bill Rudolph
NW Fishletter, November 26, 2003

Wild spring chinook dug plenty of redds in Idaho this year, according to a draft report from IDFG. Many biologists had speculated that the returns would be miserably low because of poor migrating conditions for juveniles in 2001.

But it looks like most spring chinook returning this year spent three years in the ocean, which means they went to sea in 2000, effectively bypassing the second worst water year in modern memory. About 78 percent of the spring chinook returning to Rapid River hatchery were 3-ocean fish in 2003, about 60 percent of that number were females.

For the Salmon River drainage, 1120 redds were tallied altogether, compared to 965 in 2002, and 764 in 2001. Over 330 redds were counted in Marsh Creek alone, the highest count since 1973. Last year, 195 redds were counted there. None were counted in 1999, and only 36 redds were counted in 2000.

Bear Valley Creek was home to 364 redds, another best count since 1973 and up from last year's count of 245. Only 33 redds were reported in 1999.

The Elk Creek count of 331 redds was down from last year's 377, but still high enough to be the second best count since 1973. A paltry 10 redds were counted there in 1999.

Wild summer chinook redds in the Salmon drainage totaled about 784, down from last year's 859, and 2001's count of 934.

Redd counts for wild spring chinook in the Clearwater were incomplete because aerial counts had to be abandoned due to smoke from wild fires.

Bill Rudolph
Idaho Redd Counts Stay High for Spring Chinook
NW Fishletter, November 26, 2003

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