Hatcheries Release Young Fish Reluctantlyby Elizabeth Morgan
Clearwater Tribune, March 22, 2017
With a recent temporary reprieve of water released at Dworshak Dam to help lower flood risk on the Clearwater River, dissolved gas levels in the water were temporarily lowered.
Water released from the dam had been reduced from 22,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) at the beginning of last week to 12,300 cfs on Thursday and Friday and by last Saturday and part of Sunday, the flow was further reduced to 7,500 csf.
Officials at Dworshak and the Clearwater hatcheries in Ahsahka were hoping levels would be low enough to safely release young spring chinook into the river this past Sunday and Monday.
The fear for juvenile steelhead is that many are not yet mature enough for release and while none had perished from the dissolved gas levels, some were beginning to show signs of gas bubble trauma before the dam's flows had been reduced. It's a tough call for hatchery managers.
Dworshak Hatchery Manager Mark Drobish informed the Clearwater Tribune during a brief telephone interview on March 20, that they would begin releasing less than half of the smolting steelhead at the station in Ahsahka.
"In the near future," said Drobish, "more will be trucked up river to Clear Creek near Kooskia. The rest of our juvenile steelhead will be released in mid-April.
As of press time, March 21, Clearwater Hatchery Manager Beau Gunter was unavailable for comment.
600,000 Chinook Fry Lost, 1.4 Million Juvenile Steelhead in Peril in North Idaho by Chadd Cripe, Idaho Statesman, 3/21/17
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