Fish Passage: Matt Bleich, Tacoma Power and Mark Downen, WDFW

Matt Bleich: Salmon passage monitoring through the Tacoma Reservoirs

Fish passage goals are to collect broodstock, plant juveniles and support fish with transportation

Objective: We’re assessing the effectiveness of the collector/transport fish system.

Basically, we’ll be looking at system survival, fish capture efficiency, and is it safe, timely and effective, as well as the biological, physical and environmental aspects of the fish.

We will start using a floating surface collector that will be operational in Spring 2015 when we’ll start assessing and releasing the test fish. Release thousands of fish with PIT tags (microchips) at the head of the lake. Some will have acoustic tags and released as well. Will be looking at how the fish come back and collect in the fish collector and the elements involved there (hydrology, physical, environmental elements, how fish are affected by all this)

Upstream Passage – collector is located at the base of Dam. 2, where fish are collected, then taken to a fish sorter and will determined where they go.

At Little Falls: Three years ago, there was a salmon that was trying to jump up a vertical stream but couldn’t make it because it was so steep. So a system has been put in place to take out some rock to help with the vertical reach and create pools for upstream migrating salmon. Basically, installing a bypass for the fish around steep falls.

Mark Downen: Bulltrout and habitat assessment of North Fork

Since 1926, Cushman Reservoir has harbored an isolated fish community. With the new dam license, new salmon will be introduced to the watershed.

With the low productivity and limited spawning habitat and ongoing potential of illegal introduction of nonnative species, an updated fish community baseline was needed to inform sound fish management and recovery decisions.

Methods – horizontal and vertical gill nets, fyke nets and electrofishing sites. Analysis included looking at fish species composition, life history characteristics, and habitat use prior to introduction of salmonids.

Biologists encountered chinook, kokanee, cutthroat, bull trout, whitefish, salish sucker, speckled dace.

Largest population found was bull trout.

in 2013-large mouth bass showed up… heard about it in the lakes but never saw until now. also keeping an eye out for small mouth bass, which area a much colder species, so that could be of concern if they show up.

Only have a 15-17% mortality using the gill nets – would set for 30 minutes and then pull. Found bull trout mostly in the morning. Were able to sample and release them live.

Observations –
abundant forage base in the lake, in numbers and compositions and size classes – providing lots of diversity in the low level of the food web

There is an absence of chinook in intensively monitored habitats; an absence of juvenile bull trout in the lake and largemouth bass distribution abundance and growth.

Summary – we believed we developed a sound logistical framework for sampling fish species in the lake and could be valuable as we move forward to in sampling fish, to develop a database to compare to.