Last week, my wife and I helped with planting Spring Chinook fry in Whychus Creek. It was the last batch of salmon scheduled to be planted in the Deschutes basin during 2017.
This was a special day for us because these Spring Chinook fry were planted above the town of Sisters, OR, where we live. Whychus Creek flows through our back yard, so hopefully these fish will migrate past our house next year as smolts.
The hatchery had fewer Spring Chinook fry because of poor returns of adult salmon last year, so they were unable to obtain the large number of eggs of previous years. The final number we planted in Whychus Creek was around 34,200 this day. There were 19 bags with approximately 1,800 fish per bag.
Cold water and oxygen are critical for these fry to survive during transport. Here is a picture of the process we used.
A few handfuls of ice were placed in the bag and oxygen is being pumped into the bag as well. Six bags were placed into ice chests on the trip downstream of Sisters to the Camp Polk Meadow Preserve on Deschutes Land Trust property.
We took the remaining Spring Chinook fry upstream of Sisters to the creek braids and soft water where these fish will live and grow for a year.
Here are a few Spring Chinook salmon fry ready for the creek.
And swimming in their new home.
These Spring Chinook salmon fry will live a year in Whychus Creek before starting their journey. The fry will grow to somewhere between 4 and 6 inches and swim downstream to the Round Butte Dam where they will be tagged before transferred around the dam and into the Lower Deschutes river on their way to the ocean.
I would love to see these fish in a few years swimming back upstream past my house!
Here is a quick update about the Spring Chinook salmon smolts we injected with pit tags from the Planting Spring Chinook in the Deschutes Basin post.
As of 4/10/2017, 40 of roughly 800 smolts planted in the Metolius River on 3/23/2017 had traveled downstream to the Round Butte Dam collection facility. The early one made it in four days. Most of them took 10 days – two weeks. Hopefully the other smolts will stay in the stream a little longer to imprint the location of where to return and spawn in a few years.
I wonder how many the Bull Trout have eaten?
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