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Extending the Stream Salmonid Simulator to accommodate the life history of coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) in the Klamath River Basin, Northern California

October 18, 2022

In this report, we apply the stream salmonid simulator (S3) to coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) in the Klamath River Basin by extending the original model to account for life history and disease dynamics specific to coho salmon. This version of S3 includes tracking of three separate life-history strategies representing the different time periods and ages at which fish leave natal tributaries such as the Scott and Shasta Rivers (age-0 spring, age-0 fall, or age-1 smolt). Once fish leave their natal tributaries and enter the Klamath River, the deterministic life-stage-structured population model simulates daily growth, movement, and survival. We extend the model to include non-natal tributary dynamics, where spring age-0 fish entry to non-natal tributaries is simulated based on environmental conditions in the main-stem Klamath River. Fish that use non-natal tributaries then reenter the Klamath River during the winter or spring as smolts and actively migrate downstream. We also consider the life history strategy where fish rear in natal tributaries and enter the Klamath River as age-1 smolts. In addition to simulating different life history pathways that coho salmon may take, we model disease dynamics, incorporating new information on Ceratonova shasta related infection and mortality. We incorporate competitive interactions between juvenile coho and Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) by simulating density-dependent movement dynamics in response to Chinook salmon abundance.

Model simulations suggest that total abundance and survival to the ocean differed between life-history strategies. In general, spring age-0 fish that leave their natal tributaries in their first spring had lower survival compared with fish that remained in natal tributaries and out-migrated later. Spring age-0 fish also had higher disease related mortality, owing to their residence in the main-stem Klamath River overlapping with periods of elevated C. shasta spore concentrations. Age-0 fish leaving their natal tributaries in the fall had near-zero disease related mortality. Most non-natal tributary use occurred at upstream tributary locations and was variable between the brood years depending on passage timing and environmental conditions. The inclusion of Chinook salmon in simulations resulted in decreased abundance and survival of Coho salmon reaching the ocean. In addition, we developed an R package to facilitate use of and continued development of S3 as a tool to guide management of juvenile salmonid populations.

Publication Year 2022
Title Extending the Stream Salmonid Simulator to accommodate the life history of coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) in the Klamath River Basin, Northern California
DOI 10.3133/ofr20221071
Authors Michael J. Dodrill, Russell W. Perry, Nicholas A. Som, Christopher V. Manhard, Julie D. Alexander
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2022-1071
Index ID ofr20221071
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Fisheries Research Center