More than a half million spring-run Chinook salmon smolts were released into the Feather River near Yuba City last week. The 4-inch-long baby salmon were raised at CDFW’s Feather River Hatchery in Oroville.
The release was timed when the water temperature and river conditions offered the best chance survival for the young fish. Recent rains muddied the waters making it difficult for predators to see the young salmon and higher water flows increased the pace of downriver migration. The young salmon travel more than 40 river miles in 24 hours down the Feather River into the Sacramento River and past under the Tower Bridge sonic tag buoy station in Sacramento.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service implanted 300 of the young salmon with sonic tags to track their movements downstream to the ocean and to provide an estimate of survival. Each sonic tag pings sonic buoys as it passes, providing researchers information on how many survive on their journey to the ocean and where in the journey the highest mortality takes place.
Watch the release: