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Old 13th January 2010, 07:33
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Default Russian River: "If Mouth Has Black, Put it Back"

Forestville, CA – A critical new program to help Russian River anglers correctly identify endangered coho salmon and threatened Chinook salmon was unveiled in the fall of 2009 at Steelhead Beach Regional Park. Representatives from several agencies that regulate or monitor Russian River coho, Chinook and steelhead trout were on hand to discuss the outreach program.

“We hope that this easily understandable phrase, ‘If Mouth Has Black, Put it Back’ will stick with anglers and help them do the right thing,” said David Moore, Interpretive Services Supervisor, Bay Delta Region, California Department of Fish & Game. The mouths of coho and Chinook salmon are black and therefore can be distinguished from a steelhead, which has a white mouth.

Russian River coho and Chinook are illegal for anglers to keep, as are wild steelhead. Anglers can keep up to two hatchery-raised steelhead, which are identified by clipped adipose fins. Confusion can arise if an angler catches a coho that was raised and released through the Russian River Coho Broodstock Program. For monitoring purposes, these coho (which are illegal to keep) also have a clipped adipose fin – leading some anglers to assume that they have caught a hatchery-raised steelhead that can be kept. This identify mistake happened in 2008 during a steelhead fishing contest, when a fisherman landed and kept a female broodstock coho.

“Our involvement in this program came about when were alerted to the fact that a coho and been taken inadvertently and killed,” said Kent MacIntosh, a grassroots organizer for Trout Unlimited of California. “Each of these fish are of significant value to the watershed. The loss of even one is a tragedy.”

Anglers who even accidently catch and keep a coho, Chinook or wild steelhead are subject to state and federal fines and jail time.

Signs highlighting the “If Mouth Has Black, Put It Back” slogan have been posted at more than three dozen popular Russian River access spots, including seven regional parks. In addition, 20,000 free identification cards are being distributed at local tackle shops, at stores that sell fishing licenses and at community events. The signs and cards (which fit into plastic fishing license holders) depict coho salmon, Chinook salmon and steelhead and include photos of fish mouths.

The Russian River Angler Outreach campaign was funded by a $10,000 grant from the Sonoma County Fish & Wildlife Commission.

Here is a video from the press conference:



Russian River Fact Sheet

Issued by: Sonoma County Water Agency, California
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Old 13th January 2010, 07:58
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Default Russian River Chinook Salmon Runs remain low

The first Russian River Chinook salmon of the 2009 season passed SCWA's video counting system at Mirabel Dam on October 7. As of December 6, a total of 1,770 Chinook salmon had passed through the SCWA fish ladders. Below - in numerical order - is a total of Chinook salmon from prior years:

2003: 6,103
2002: 5,474
2004: 4,788
2006: 3,410
2005: 2,572
2007: 1,963
2009: 1,770
2000: 1,445
2001: 1,383
2008: 1,125

Sonoma County Water Agency's video counting system has operated continuously at two fish ladders (on either side of the dam) since August 15, 2009. SCWA biologists and a team of technicians review the time lapse images seven days a week and visit the site daily to clean and maintain the cameras.

Some videos as featured from the SCWA website are below:


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