OLYMPIA – Biologists from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) are asking anglers to return the heads of all hatchery steelhead harvested on the Kalama River through May to Kalama River hatcheries or tackle shops along the river.
Many of the returning adult hatchery steelhead have a microscopic magnetic tag embedded in their heads to identify them as one of three groups of smolts planted in the spring of 1999. The location of the tag in the heads will help biologists evaluate potential differences in survival between local and non-local broodstocks, said Chris Wagemann, a fish and wildlife biologist with WDFW.
"This is the first opportunity we've had to look at adult steelhead returns from broodstock that have been spawned and reared at the Kalama River hatcheries and then released as smolts into the Kalama River," Wagemann said. "By turning in the heads of Kalama hatchery steelhead harvested over the winter, anglers will be helping us better manage the fishery."
Biologists are also asking anglers to turn in plastic tags from harvested hatchery steelhead involved in the "recycling program" on the Kalama River. The two-inch plastic tags, called "floy tags," are attached at the base of the dorsal fin to identify adult hatchery steelhead captured at the hatchery and trucked downstream to re-enter the lower river fishery.
Anglers who harvest one of these "recycled" fish, are asked to return the tag at one of the hatcheries or tackle shops along the Kalama River. Anglers may also mail the tags to WDFW, Kalama Research Station, 804 Allen St., No. 3, Kelso, WA 98626.