Successful Year One of P.I.T. Wild Trout Monitoring Program

Watch Video on Fall River PIT Program!

This project was funded by The Orvis Company. Learn more about their conservation efforts here:

FRC Wild Trout Monitoring Program

Wild Fall River Rainbow Trout
Photo Credit: Val Atkinson

In 2013 the Fall River Conservancy partnered with the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, PG&E, California Department of Fish and Wildlife and California Trout to develop the Fall River Wild Trout Monitoring Program.

The FRC Wild Trout Monitoring Program utilizes Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) technology and an array system (attenas that can be designed to span stream channels or placed on bridges that record the unique tag number and time each time a PIT tag is recognized by the array) to track the movement of wild trout through-out the Fall River system. This year we tagged 500 Fall River wild trout with unique PIT tags specific to each individual fish, about the size of a grain of rice, that were inserted into the abdominal cavity of the fish. During the tagging process, each fish was measured for length, weight and a small genetic sample clipped from the caudal fin. The genetic samples are being analyzed by UC Davis to determine the genetic lineage of Fall River trout.

The purpose of this long-term study is to help answer questions such as: where do Fall River trout spawn? How do trout migrate through-out the Fall River system? Are all Fall River wild trout of the same genetic line?

Fall River Conservancy

2013 PIT Wild Trout Monitoring Program Dates:

  • The PIT Monitoring Program was launched on April 23, 2013 with the group of researchers and professionals tagging 250 wild trout.
  • On July 16th, FRC and its partners led a second round of PIT tagging to bring the total number of trout tagged and sampled for genetics to 500 for the PIT Wild Trout Monitoring Program.
Fall River Conservancy

2014 PIT Wild Trout Monitoring:

  • Spring 2014- UC Davis Watershed Sciences Center will lead all partners in a third round of wild trout tagging before the open of fishing season. This will bring the total amount of wild trout tagged up to 750 at least.
  • Summer and Fall 2014- Install arrays along strategic locations of the Fall River to begin the tracking of the wild trout through-out the system
Fall River Conservancy
Photo Credit: Val Atkinson

 Purpose of the Study

 The purpose of this study is to,

  1. Identify key spawning and rearing habitat for protection and restoration
  2. Determine how wild trout utilize existing habitat conditions throughout their life history
  3. Pin point sources of mortality and impediments to migration
  4. Investigate whether genetically distinct wild trout sub-populations exist
  5. Establish accurate wild trout population estimates
  6. Developing a database of science that can help to inform CDFW regulations

 The information collected through this project will be used to prioritize critical habitat areas for restoration and inform and improve wild trout management throughout the Fall River’s 30 miles interconnected spring-fed tributaries, lakes, and waterways. Accurate and comprehensive baseline PIT data will ensure that future restoration strategies will be grounded in sound science and yield the greatest benefit to trout populations.

Keep tuned in 2014 as the Fall River Conservancy track wild trout through-out the Fall River system.

This project was funded by The Orvis Company. Learn more about their conservation efforts here:

Leave a Reply