Monday May 8, 2023

Big Country News

The Snake River smolt trap is in place. The crews are trained and ready to work. Chinook salmon and steelhead trout smolts are beginning their downstream journey to the ocean.

The trap intercepts a portion of these hatchery- and natural-origin migrants. The livewell can hold several thousand fishes each day. Every fish is counted. The dipper turns 24 hours per day, seven days per week, during March, April, and May. This schedule has repeated here since 1984.

Some smolts will be marked with a microchip known as a PIT tag. Each tag contains a unique code that labels its host. The crews will PIT tag 13,400 Chinook salmon and steelhead trout this spring.

The tagged smolt’s length and condition is recorded. Afterwards, they rest in a holding tank until fully recovered. They are then returned to the river to resume their migration.

The data collected from these smolts helps fisheries and other resource managers make informed decisions to enhance their survival to the ocean and back to Idaho a few years later as adults.

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