Featured News, Siskiyou

DEAD ALREADY! CDFW Salmon Release Failed! 

cover photo: Juvenile Chinook salmon swim in a raceway at Iron Fish Gate Hatchery, Siskiyou County, Calif., before their relocation to the Fall Creek facility on July 7, 2021. (CDFW Photo/Travis VanZant)​

Klamath River Conditions Deadly – Still Killing Fish!

Siskiyou News writer, William E. Simpson II who lives on the River, called it right in his article about the salmon release in Fall Creek last week. 

Now, according to California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), ‘830,000’ taxpayer funded salmon are dead. Interesting that on day of the release, at the site of the release, the Senior Environmental Scientist for CDFW, Mr. Eric Jones, told William Simpson they had released 850,000 salmon fry, yet in their news release they seem to have downplayed the number that died.

Upon the release of Simpson’s story about the salmon release last week (2-28-24), William endured slings and arrows from a few rabid pro-dam destruction propagandists and fishermen who denied that the release of the salmon ever happened.  Now the Truth is at hand.

According to Simpson, he believes the so-called ‘bubble disease’ is a red herring, and that the clay-mud turbidity was instrumental in the death of the salmon fry, which are very susceptible to poor quality water and turbidity.

source: https://wildlife.ca.gov/News/Archive/fall-run-chinook-salmon-fry-succumb-to-gas-bubble-disease-in-klamath-river#gsc.tab=0

Local ‘boots-on-the-ground’ writer William E. Simpson was right, calling-out the deadly conditions for fish that exist in the Klamath River. Now, 850,000 Salmon fry are dead and taxpayers funded yet another failed experiment.

850,000 Chinook Salmon Fry Released Into Fall Creek – Siskiyou News

CDFW NEWS RELEASE: Fall-Run Chinook Salmon Fry Succumb to Gas Bubble Disease in Klamath River

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced today that fall-run Chinook salmon fry released for the first time from its Fall Creek Fish Hatchery in Siskiyou County are presumed to have succumbed to gas bubble disease in the Klamath River.

On Monday, Feb. 26, CDFW released approximately 830,000 fall-run Chinook salmon fry into Fall Creek, a tributary of the Klamath River above Iron Gate Dam. The fish were hatched at CDFW’s new, $35 million, state-of-the-art Fall Creek Fish Hatchery, which represents California’s long-term commitment to supporting and restoring both Chinook and coho salmon runs on an undammed Klamath River.

The salmon fry experienced a large mortality based on monitoring data downstream. Indications are the cause of mortality is gas bubble disease that likely occurred as the fry migrated though the Iron Gate Dam tunnel, old infrastructure that is targeted for removal along with the Iron Gate Dam itself later this year. Gas bubble disease results from environmental or physical trauma often associated with severe pressure change.

There is no indication the mortality is associated with other Klamath River water quality conditions such as turbidity and dissolved oxygen, which were reading at suitable levels on Feb. 26 and the days prior to release. The visual appearance of the dead fry detected by monitoring equipment points to gas bubble disease. Monitoring equipment documented other healthy yearling coho and Chinook salmon that came from downstream of the dam.

The problems associated with the Iron Gate Dam tunnel are temporary and yet another sad reminder of how the Klamath River dams have harmed salmon runs for generations. CDFW will plan all future salmon releases below Iron Gate Dam until this infrastructure is removed. Poor habitat conditions caused by the dams and other circumstances such as this are reasons why CDFW conducts releases of hatchery fish at various life stages.

CDFW’s Fall Creek Fish Hatchery continues to hold approximately 3.27 million healthy, fall-run Chinook salmon. Additional releases are planned later in the month.

The annual fall-run Chinook salmon production goal for the hatchery is to raise and release 3.25 million fish – 1.25 million released as fry, 1.75 million as smolts, and 250,000 as yearlings. The additional stock of fall-run Chinook salmon remaining in the hatchery exceeds the annual production goal and will help offset losses experienced with the initial release of fry.


  1. Jim McCutcheon

    I am curious, why In this case the agency try a smaller batch in a contained area . Were any water samples captured prior to the release? Salmon fri requires pristine water quality . Salmon Fri are often used to test water quality. The canary in coal mine. This is widely known. So why the gamble with so large of a release ?

  2. Curious how much did it cost the taxpayer???

  3. Dennis Buckley

    Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

  4. One has to agree with the above comment by Mr. McCutchen. Why not release smaller amounts in order to check and test water purity. Is this bubble gas testable for? One does have to wonder about who is running these places…. and there training…… seriously…… . Just my thoughts…..

  5. Paul Hamilton

    At least it was only 830,000 we payed for. Since tax payer dollars are expendable
    I’m sure they could have wasted a lot more, if only they would have tried harder 👌👌👌

  6. Carolyn Ellertson

    An absolute travesty. Who is on first! How much did those geniuses earn a year? Where are the biologists?

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