Wednesday December 14, 2022

The Mendocino Voice

According to updates from a PG&E senior aquatic biologist, 197 Chinook salmon have been recorded migrating upstream from Cape Horn Dam since the first fish of the 2022-2023 salmonid migration season were spotted at the Van Arsdale Fisheries Station on Nov. 7.

Biologist Andrew Anderson provides salmon monitoring data at the Cape Horn Dam throughout the season as a condition of FERC’s licensure of PG&E’s Potter Valley Project. Of the fish spotted so far this season, 51 were female, 81 were male, 35 were unknown, and 30 were jack (smaller fish that have spent less than one year in the ocean). Anderson has not observed any salmon carcasses as of his last report from Dec. 4.

Salmonid migration season in our region generally runs from November through January as fall-run Chinook salmon return to rivers in response to large winter storms, according to information from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). Salmon journey upstream through the Eel River to spawn in its upper tributaries. Patrick Higgins, managing director of the Eel River Recovery Project (ERRP), said in a recent report that due to insufficient flows in the Middle Fork Eel River, “spawning is now taking place in the main channel of the Eel River everywhere from below Dyerville to Cape Horn Dam.”

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