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The distribution of anadromy in steelhead / rainbow trout in the Eel River, northwestern California

July 1, 2021

To inform management and conservation of the species, we investigated the distribution of anadromy and residency of steelhead/rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in the Eel River of northwestern California. We determined maternal anadromy versus residency for 106 juvenile O. mykiss using otolith microchemistry. To attempt to relate patterns of anadromy with environmental factors known to influence its distribution in O. mykiss in other places, fish were collected from 52 sites throughout the drainage covering a range of stream size (0.1–7.7 m3/s estimated mean annual run-off) and distance from the ocean (23–219 km). Sixty-one of 91 fish sampled below prospective barriers had anadromous mothers, while 1 of 15 fish sampled above barriers had an anadromous mother. We did not detect any influence of stream size or distance from the ocean on the occurrence of anadromy. Fish with resident mothers were found at 21 of 46 sites below barriers. The current broad distribution of fish with resident mothers indicates the importance of maintaining freshwater conditions suitable for resident adults and juveniles age-1 and older, such as preserving dry-season streamflows.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2021
Title The distribution of anadromy in steelhead / rainbow trout in the Eel River, northwestern California
DOI 10.51492/cfwj.107.7
Authors Bret C. Harvey, Rodney J. Nakamoto, Adam J.R. Kent, Christian E. Zimmerman
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title California Fish and Wildlife Journal
Index ID 70232405
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Alaska Science Center Biology MFEB