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Assessment of smolt condition for travel time analysis. Annual report 1988

March 1, 1989

Estimates of migration rates and travel times of juvenile salmonids within index reaches of the Columbia River basin are collected through the Smolt Monitoring Program for use by the Fish Passage Center. With increased reliance upon travel time estimates in 1988 by the Fish Passage Center, this study was implemented to monitor the biological attributes of juvenile chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha and steelhead trout 0.- mykiss used for the travel time estimates, The physiological ability of fish to respond to stress was assessed by measuring levels of plasma cortisol, glucose, and chloride before and after a stress-challenge test. Most mid-Columbia and Snake river groups responded normally to the stress challenge exhibiting an increase in plasma glucose and cortisol and a slight decrease in chloride. Fish trucked to release sites were more stressed than those released directly from the hatchery, but most still responded to the stress challenge test normally. An abnormal or extreme stress response occurred when there were deviations from preferred protocol, disease problems at hatcheries, or when fish were trucked over long periods (7h). The development of smoltification was evaluated by measuring gill Na+K+-ATPase, plasma thyroxine, purines, and body morphology. Most groups were similar at the hatcheries but differed as the migration to McNary Dam proceeded. Gill ATPase activity increased 2-3 fold during the first 20 days of migration, after which it changed little. Fish with longer in-river travel times appeared to be more smolted than those which were in the river for a shorter period of time. The prevalence of bacterial kidney disease (BKD) in spring chinook salmon was evaluated using the enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and fluorescent antibody technique (FAT). Prevalence of BKD in groups tested using the ELISA method was as high as 99% at some downstream locations. A review of indices is presented as a guide, to the development of an index of smolt condition and preliminary data are presented. An index could be used as a tool to synthesize information on fish condition to assist with management and evaluation of the Water Budget.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1989
Title Assessment of smolt condition for travel time analysis. Annual report 1988
Authors D.W. Rondorf, J.W. Beeman, J.C. Faler, M.E. Free, E.J. Wagner
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Other Government Series
Series Title
Series Number
Index ID 70180788
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Fisheries Research Center