Action: Changes the definition of hatchery steelhead returning to the Hoko River to include steelhead with a dorsal fin height of less than 2 1/8 inches or those with a clipped adipose or ventral fin.
Effective date: Nov. 10, 2018, through March 8, 2019.
Reason for action: Returning hatchery steelhead are typically identified by a clipped adipose or ventral fin and a healed scar at the location of the fin. However, the hatchery steelhead smolts released from the Makah Fish Hatchery in the spring of 2016 and in spring of 2017 into the Hoko River were not fin-clipped because of warm river temperatures and consequent fish health concerns. These fish will be returning in the coming winter steelhead season. Dorsal fin heights of hatchery steelhead are shorter than comparably sized wild steelhead. The standard of 2 1/8 inches has been used elsewhere to identify unclipped hatchery steelhead.
Further Information: Hatchery steelhead are released as yearlings, and return after 1 ½ or 2 ½ years at sea as 3-year-old and 4-year-old fish. Identifying these fish by the height of the dorsal fin will allow the harvest in the Hoko River of most returning hatchery steelhead from the 2016 and 2017 releases.
Steelhead smolts released in the Hoko in the spring of 2018 have been marked by an adipose fin clip.
Information contact: Mike Gross, District Biologist Region 6 Office, (360) 249-4628.