Juvenile salmonid distribution, growth, condition, origin, and environmental and species associations in the Northern California Current


Brodeur, Rick D., Joseph P. Fisher, David J. Teel, Robert L. Emmett, Edmundo Casillas, and Todd W. Miller
Cover date: 

Information is summarized on juvenile salmonid distribution, size, condition, growth, stock origin, and species and environmental associations from June and August 2000 GLOBEC cruises with particular emphasis on differences related to the regions north and south of Cape Blanco off Southern Oregon. Juvenile salmon were more abundant during the August cruise as compared to the June cruise and were mainly distributed northward from Cape Blanco. There were distinct differences in distribution patterns between salmon species: chinook salmon were found close inshore in cooler water all along the coast and coho salmon were rarely found south of Cape Blanco. Distance offshore and temperature were the dominant explanatory variables related to coho and chinook salmon distribution. The nekton assemblages differed significantly between cruises. The June cruise was dominated by juvenile rockfishes, rex sole, and sablefish, which were almost completely absent in August. The forage fish community during June comprised Pacific herring and whitebait smelt north of Cape Blanco and surf smelt south of Cape Blanco. The fish community in August was dominated by Pacific sardines and highly migratory pelagic species. Estimated growth rates of juvenile coho salmon were higher in the GLOBEC study area than in areas farther north. An unusually high percentage of coho salmon in the study area were precocious males. Significant differences in growth and condition of juvenile coho salmon indicated different oceanographic environments north and south of Cape Blanco. The condition index was higher in juvenile coho salmon to the north but no significant differences were found for yearling chinook salmon. Genetic mixed stock analysis indicated that during June, most of the chinook salmon in our sample originated from rivers along the central coast of Oregon. In August, chinook salmon sampled south of Cape Blanco were largely from southern Oregon and northern California; whereas most chinook salmon north of Cape Blanco were from the Central Valley in California.