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Fall salmon could reach record low

REDDING (AP) — The number of fall-run salmon spawning on a Klamath River tributary could reach a record low for the second straight year.

The California Department of Fish and Game estimates only about 320 salmon made it to the spawning beds of the Salmon River last fall, though final numbers won’t be available until March.

An estimated 6,000 salmon returned to the Salmon River northwest of Redding in 1997, the largest number since record-keeping began in 1978. The fall 2004 run included just 333 salmon.

Possible reasons for the decline include recent fish kills on the tributary, which originates in the Trinity Alps and empties into the Klamath north of Orleans in Humboldt County. Other potential causes include warm river water and poor ocean conditions.

The salmon tally itself may be faulty because portions of the survey were called off due to bad weather.

Other Klamath tributaries saw higher numbers of salmon last fall than in 2004, but not high enough to offset the low salmon numbers, said Sara Borok, a fisheries biologist with Fish and Game.

She said that likely means a limited sport and commercial harvest in the Klamath watershed this year, which has averaged 107,000 fall-run chinook for more than 20 years.



Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM  Pacific

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