TILLAMOOK, ORE. – Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife asks anglers and boaters not to be alarmed if they see a long net being cast out from an aluminum jet boat this summer along the upper reaches of Tillamook Bay and its tributaries. The Tillamook field office is conducting a study to determine how fish use the tidal rivers and sloughs of Tillamook Bay. The netting this summer is the first phase of a multi- year seining operation project.
“We suspect these areas were historically critical rearing habitats for juvenile chinook salmon and other fish species, but they have never been properly evaluated,” says Chris Knutsen, Assistant District Fisheries Biologist. “In other Pacific Northwest estuaries, chinook salmon rear for up to several months before migrating to the ocean. Some of the research indicates that spending more time rearing in the estuary provides juvenile chinook a better survival rate than chinook that migrate from freshwater directly to the ocean.”
A crew of ODFW biologists will be on the water two to three times per month this year through September identifying locations in the tidewater reaches of the Kilchis, Wilson, Trask, and Tillamook rivers. Netting will also be conducted in Hoquarton, Dougherty, and Hall sloughs. All fish will be captured, identified, measured, and released unharmed back into the water. ODFW hopes to develop partnerships in the future to determine how seasonal changes in water quality affect the distribution and abundance of fish in the upper bay.
ODFW hopes to eventually partner with the Tillamook Estuaries Partnership in Garibaldi to determine how seasonal changes in water quality affect the distribution and abundance of fish in the upper bay.