This year’s Annual Smith River Adult Fish Count drew approximately forty-three volunteers for the two-day event at Rock Creek Ranch. The purpose of the fish count is to survey adult salmonids in the Smith River Basin.
Newcomers participated in a classroom training session to learn or brush up on fish identification, survey methods and river safety. These skills are then practiced during an immersion session in the South Fork led by experienced instructors. Volunteers learn how to navigate through riffles and how to survey the river for fish as a team. The second day, Saturday, volunteers survey different reaches of the South Fork for Salmonids and other animals.
“The event is always a joy to coordinate,” said Marisa Parish Hanson, Program Director with Smith River Alliance. “Continuing to collect data and contributing to the longest data set of cutthroat trout is special, but so is the opportunity to bring together so many people to experience and learn about the river and the fish that reside in it.”
On Saturday, August 6th, volunteers surveyed a total of ten reaches, covering a span of 15.07 miles of stream, slightly less than the average number of South Fork miles surveyed in past years. Due to precautions related to COVID19, the 2022 Smith River Adult Fish Count drew a smaller crowd of volunteers than in previous years. Crews conducted surveys in the South Fork Smith this year.
An estimated 718 coastal cutthroat trout, 4 summer steelhead trout, 8 steelhead half-pounders, 179 rainbow trout and 5 Klamath small-scale suckers were observed during the 2022 count across all reaches. No Spring Chinook Salmon were observed.
This event is part of a collaborative long-term effort to provide annual observations over thirty-four years-a long survey record for the South Fork, twenty-seven years on the Middle Fork, and ten years on the North Fork in the Smith River Basin.
A special thanks to all the volunteers who participated in the 2022 fish count, as well as to our sponsors who provided food and supplies for our volunteers after a long day of snorkeling the South Fork.
Read the entire report on the 2022 Smith River Volunteer Adult Fish Count here.