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2013 Hanford Chinook CWT Project Expansion. Postponed until 2014. Jeffrey K. Fryer Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission Portland, OR. Hanford Reach Fall Chinook Tagging Project.

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2013 hanford chinook cwt project expansion

2013 Hanford Chinook CWT Project Expansion

Postponed until 2014

Jeffrey K. Fryer

Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission

Portland, OR

hanford reach fall chinook tagging project
Hanford Reach Fall Chinook Tagging Project
  • Since 1987 CRITFC has coordinated a project to ad-clip and coded wire tag 200,000 juvenile upriver bright fall Chinook salmon on the Hanford Reach.
  • Data uses:
    • Estimate differential survival between Hanford and Priest Rapids Hatchery survival.
    • Estimate overall Hanford juvenile survival
    • Harvest differences between Hanford and PRDH
  • CWT project has met goal 14 out of 27 years
    • Met goal 9 out of 14 (64%) years with three crews and 12 days
    • Met goal 5 of 12 years (42%) with two crews and 12 or fewer days
  • Concurrent PIT tagging programs have tagged juvenile Chinook in 18 out of 23 years between 1991-2013. In only six of these 18 years has there been any significant funding dedicated to PIT tagging.

Capture Gear

Stick seines are typically 11.0 to 18.3 m long and 1.8m deep

Beach seines are typically 36.6 m long and 3.0 m deep

For both, mesh size is 4.8 mm (¼”).


CWT trailer operations

  • Technicians visually cull out injured fish as well as Chinook that are too large (>80mm) and too small for tagging (typically <48mm):
  • After tagging, fish are held and released after 15-120 minutes. A small group is held in drilled garbage cans placed in a trough to estimate 24 hour mortality. Fish are released on site.
2013 coded wire tagging
2013 Coded Wire Tagging
  • 11 day, 2 capture crew project from May 30-June 9.
  • Coded wire tag output: 178,426
  • Sorts (mostly too small): 38,251
  • Taggable (48-80 mm): 82.3%
  • QC: 0.2% with no tag
  • Sort and pre-tag mortalities: 5.8% (of all processed)
  • Immediate post-tag mortality: 2.8%
  • 24 hour (possibly biased) mortality: 12.6%
factors contributing to failure to meet goal
Factors contributing to failure to meet goal
  • One fewer day and crew than many years
  • High flows. (Project has hit goal 10 of 13 years when mean June 1-15 PRD flow <160 kcfs, failed 10 out of 14 years above 160 kcfs.) Mean PRD flow was 168 kcfs in 2013.
  • Possibly a bit late in starting project (% taggable=82.3%).
  • Tough fishing, which contributed to mortality
hanford reach and fishing areas
Hanford Reach and fishing areas


F Islands




Number of fish captured by area 1987-2013

Tagging moved to Hanford town site

Capture boats upgraded

2013 pit tagging
2013 PIT tagging
  • Tags and funding for one person provided by Grant PUD
  • PIT tagged Chinook were released at White Bluffs and Hanford townsite.
  • Mortality higher than previous years, likely caused by inexperienced crew, poor fish condition, and stresses imposed by hot weather and primitive facilities
2013 pit tagging results preliminary
2013 PIT tagging Results (preliminary)
  • Total Released:
    • Hanford: 3,027
    • White Bluffs: 1,114
  • Survival to McNary:
    • All releases: 33.5% (66.4% PRDH)
    • Hanford: 33.4%
    • White Bluffs: 34.3%
  • Harmonic Mean Travel Time
    • To McNary 29.0 days (15.6 PRDH)
    • To John Day: 31.4 days (18.6 PRDH)
    • To Bonneville: 34.8 days (21.4 PRDH)
  • Project came close to coded wire tagging and PIT tagging goals, however mortality was way too high.
  • Project hampered by high flows and low abundance on the Reach.
  • Mortality increased when we started capturing fish downstream in Richland due to low abundance.
  • High temperatures were likely a contributing factor for CWT mortality
  • Could ferrying fish have contributed to high mortality?
  • High temperatures, crude facilities, poor fish condition, and an inexperienced crew were factors in PIT tag mortality.
questions for ctc
Questions for CTC
  • How to weigh the tradeoffs that sometimes occur between the 200,000 goal and other considerations? If we did not fish at Richland in 2013, I estimate we would have ended up with 135,000 tagged and a tag output of 125,000 compared to the 178,000 and 155,000 we had this year.
  • Should we be fishing in Richland if we can address mortality issues? Historically, this project has been based on the Reach but we reluctantly turn to Richland when fish capture is difficult. Problems with Richland are:
    • Higher mortality
    • Likely greater chance of capturing Yakima River Chinook and possibly other upstream stocks.
    • Fishing on wildlife refuge in a very public area.
  • How interested is the CTC in Hanford PIT tagging?
  • Visitors are always welcome! (Though DOE security regulations require long lead times for noncitizens.)
2014 cwt project changes
2014 CWT Project Changes
  • CTC LOA project will fund an additional crew plus additional day which should mean a much better opportunity to reach the goal and decrease the pressure to maximize fishing, to the detriment of the fish.
  • Battelle has offered the use of two recovery troughs which should allow for better holding conditions for tagged fish as well as less handling. We’ll also be able to hold all fish for nearly 24 hours to estimate 24 hour mortality. This will be a big improvement over past conditions which may exaggerate 24 hour mortality.
  • Extend hoses in river to access deeper, colder water.
  • Use a chiller or ice for anesthetic