Currently, the coded wire tag data shows that when the smolts are released at the Coleman hatchery, very poor returns result due to predation, except in high water years when heavy runoff increases juvenile salmon survival. Past trucking of Coleman Hatchery fish, born and reared in Battle Creek water, is that they have high stray rates, presumably because they never get a chance to imprint on Sacramento River water. But trucking these fish at least part way downstream is gaining in importance as the upper river becomes a more hostile migratory corridor over time, presumably due to increased water diversions. Losses in the upper river of Coleman fish have been well documented.
This proposal calls for an experiment with the trucking and net pen acclimating of some Coleman hatchery fall-run smolts part way down the Sacramento River to see if low survival and low straying can be achieved.
This proposal suggests a trucking and net pen location 60 or 70 miles down the river be tested where some of the worst predation can be avoided. Below Hamilton City, there are still over 30 miles of natal Sacramento water where imprinting can take place before reaching Butte Creek, the next major tributary.