Fish Count

Eel River Fish Count Station at Van Arsdale Reservoir

Cape Horn dam, downstream from Scott dam, is the smaller of the two dams and has a fish ladder.

April 16, 2018

This is the final weekly summary for the 2017-18 season. No fish were counted at Van Arsdale Fish Station this past week. The Chinook count stands at 232 (Male 87, Female 114, Jack 27, Unk 4). The steelhead count stands at 169 (Male 74, Female 85, Unk 10).

Scott L Harris

Associate Biologist (Marine/Fish)
Northern Region
PO Box 1690, Willits CA 95490
707-459-2238

 


Van Arsdale is the bay for the water diversion tunnel at Cape Horn Dam, the PG&E Potter Valley Hydropower Project, and the site of the oldest fish counting station in California. Built in 1922 as part of the licensing for the second dam to be built on this system, Scott Dam. By this time three generations of fish were lost because Cape Horn Dam did not have a fish ladder, between 1907 and 1922. It is said that only 40% to 45% of the fish that arrive at this site actually are able to make it up this fish ladder, demonstrating that fish ladders really do not solve the problem of getting salmon to where there is adequate and safe spawning and rearing habitat.

The next generation is then severely interfered with by dams. These dams block at least 125 miles of prime spawning and rearing habitat, but recent GIS maps indicate that there could be more than 1,000 miles available for this purpose. Loss of this fishery has impacted the north coast from Eureka to Bodega Bay fishing industry with the loss in the billions of dollars.

Read Dr. Yoshiyama & Moyle’s Historical Review of Eel River Anadromous Salmonids, 2010


Past Weeks

Historic Fish Count Data 1933-2017 

April 9, 2018
The Chinook count stands at 232 (Male 87, Female 114, Jack 27, Unk 4). Similar to last week, seven steelhead ascended the ladder this past week. The steelhead count stands at 169 (Male 74, Female 85, Unk 10). The ladder was shut down Friday evening in anticipation of Scott Dam spilling.

April 3, 2018
The Chinook count stands at 232 (Male 87, Female 114, Jack 27, Unk 4). Seven steelhead ascended the ladder this past week. The steelhead count stands at 162 (Male 72, Female 81, Unk 9).

March 20, 2018
The Chinook count stands at 232 (Male 87, Female 114, Jack 27, Unk 4). Eleven steelhead ascended the ladder this past week. The steelhead count stands at 152 (Male 67, Female 77, Unk 8).

March 14, 2018
The Chinook count stands at 232 (Male 87, Female 114, Jack 27, Unk 4). Forty steelhead ascended the ladder this past week. The steelhead count stands at 141 (Male 65, Female 70, Unk 6).

March 6, 2018
The Chinook count stands at 232 (Male 87, Female 114, Jack 27, Unk 4). Seven steelhead ascended the ladder this past week. The steelhead count stands at 101 (Male 47, Female 49, Unk 5).

February 26, 2018
The Chinook count stands at 232 (Male 87, Female 114, Jack 27, Unk 4). One steelhead ascended the ladder this past week. The steelhead count stands at 94 (Male 44, Female 45, Unk 5).

February 20, 2018
The Chinook count stands at 232 (Male 87, Female 114, Jack 27, Unk 4). A total of five steelhead ascended the ladder this past week. The steelhead count stands at 93 (Male 45, Female 45, Unk 3).

February 14, 2018
The Chinook count stands at 232 (Male 87, Female 114, Jack 27, Unk 4). A total of 11 steelhead ascended the ladder this past week. The steelhead count stands at 88 (Male 42, Female 43, Unk 3).

February 6, 2018
The Chinook count stands at 232 (Male 87, Female 114, Jack 27, Unk 4). A total of nine steelhead ascended the ladder this past week. The steelhead count stands at 77 (Male 39, Female 35, Unk 3).

January 30, 2018
The Chinook count stands at 232 (Male 87, Female 114, Jack 27, Unk 4). A total of 33 steelhead ascended the ladder this past week. The steelhead count stands at 68 (Male 35, Female 31, Unk 2).

January 23, 2018
The Chinook count stands at 232 (Male 87, Female 114, Jack 27, Unk 4). A total of 29 steelhead ascended the ladder this past week. The steelhead count stands at 35 (Male 15, Female 20).

January 18, 2018
The Chinook run appears to have come to an end. The Chinook count stands at 232 (Male 87, Female 114, Jack 27, Unk 4). A total of six steelhead ascended the ladder this past week. The steelhead count stands at 6 (Male 3, Female 3).

January 9, 2018
No Chinook ascended the ladder this past week. The Chinook count stands at 231 (Male 86, Female 114, Jack 27, Unk 4). No steelhead this past week.

January 4, 2018
During my last count, I missed one day’s video and missed two Chinook. One Chinook ascended the ladder this past week. The Chinook count stands at 231 (Male 86, Female 114, Jack 27, Unk 4). No steelhead this past week.

December 27, 2017
One Chinook ascended the ladder this past week. The Chinook count stands at 228 (Male 86, Female 112, Jack 26, Unk 4). No steelhead this past week.

December 19, 2017
No Chinook ascended the ladder this past week. The Chinook count stands at 227 (Male 86, Female 111, Jack 26, Unk 4). No steelhead this past week.

December 12, 2017
A total of 3 Chinook ascended the ladder this past week. The Chinook count stands at 227 (Male 86, Female 111, Jack 26, Unk 4). No steelhead this past week.

December 4, 2017
A total of 28 Chinook ascended the ladder this past week. The Chinook count stands at 224 (Male 86, Female 109, Jack 26, Unk 3). No steelhead this past week.

November 27, 2017
On November 21, I switched the operations from trapping and handling, to video counts. Although the set up works very well, a few fish may be unidentifiable to sex. Hence, I have added a category to the counts listed as “Unk” (Unknown). I will continue to work with the set up to rectify this. A total of 91 Chinook ascended the ladder this past week. The Chinook count stands at 196 (Male 76, Female 96, Jack 22, Unk 2). At least 75% of this week’s fish were fresh. No steelhead yet, but this is typical for Van Arsdale, located high in the Eel River Watershed.

November 21, 2017
The first of the 17-18 season Chinook salmon were trapped this past week at the Van Arsdale Fisheries Station. As usual, they moved up via a recent storm event. The Chinook count stands at 105 (Male 41, Female 53, Jack 11) through November 19. All Chinook appeared as though they had spent quite some time in the lower river and this was reflected in darker coloration and some abrasions. No steelhead yet but this is typical for Van Arsdale, located high in the Eel River Watershed.


2016 – 2017

April 17, 2017
The Chinook count stands at 435 (Male 191, Female 188, Jack 56). No steelhead were trapped this week. The steelhead count stands at 59 (Male 27, Female 32). If no steelhead are trapped this next week, trapping will cease the following week. The lamprey tube was offline last week. We hope to have it up and running in the next couple of days.

April 10, 2017
The Chinook count stands at 435 (Male 191, Female 188, Jack 56). A total of two steelhead was trapped this week. The steelhead count stands at 59 (Male 27, Female 32). The last storm set really woke up the lamprey around the station. Unfortunately, once river flow gets above 1,200 cfs the entrance to the tube is submerged and lamprey cannot utilize the tube. Flow is still above 1,200 cfs this morning. Lamprey did ascend the tube during part of this last week but I have yet to review the videos and produce counts…maybe next week.

April 3, 2017
The Chinook count stands at 435 (Male 191, Female 188, Jack 56). A total of 13 steelhead was trapped this week. The steelhead count stands at 57 (Male 26, Female 31). Pacific lamprey are on the move at the station. The flex tube and video monitoring equipment utilized last year were reinstalled on Thursday/Friday. Hopefully, I can provide some preliminary counts next week.

March 27, 2017
The Chinook count stands at 435 (Male 191, Female 188, Jack 56). A total of 8 steelhead were trapped this week. The steelhead count stands at 44 (Male 19, Female 25).

March 20, 2017
The Chinook count stands at 435 (Male 191, Female 188, Jack 56). A total of 12 steelhead were trapped this week. The steelhead count stands at 36 (Male 16, Female 20).

March 14, 2017
The Chinook count stands at 435 (Male 191, Female 188, Jack 56). A total of 4 steelhead were trapped this week. The steelhead count stands at 24 (Male 12, Female 12).

March 7, 2017
The ladder was back online on the 28th. The Chinook count stands at 435 (Male 191, Female 188, Jack 56). A total of 7 steelhead were trapped this week. The steelhead count stands at 20 (Male 9, Female 11).

February 28, 2017
The ladder was offline due to high flow and cleanup. The Chinook count stands at 435 (Male 191, Female 188, Jack 56). The steelhead count stands at 13 (Male 5, Female 8).

February 22, 2017
The ladder was offline due to high flow and cleanup. The Chinook count stands at 435 (Male 191, Female 188, Jack 56). The steelhead count stands at 13 (Male 5, Female 8).

February 13, 2017
The ladder was back online on January 31 but was again offline on February 7 due to high flow and damage. The Chinook count stands at 435 (Male 191, Female 188, Jack 56). One male steelhead was counted prior to the closing of the ladder. The steelhead count stands at 13 (Male 5, Female 8).

February 6, 2017
The ladder was back online on January 31. No Chinook this past week. The Chinook count stands at 435 (Male 191, Female 188, Jack 56). A total of nine steelhead were counted this past week. The steelhead count stands at 12 (Male 4, Female 8).

January 29, 2017
The station was again closed this past week due to storm damage. The ladder will be open either today or tomorrow. The Chinook count stands at 435 (Male 191, Female 188, Jack 56). The steelhead count stands at 3 (Male 1, Female 2).

January 22, 2017
The station was closed this past week due to high water and debris issues. The Chinook count stands at 435 (Male 191, Female 188, Jack 56). The steelhead count stands at 3 (Male 1, Female 2). The ladder remains closed due to damage suffered during the week’s storms. PG&E cleared the ladder of sediment but flow level will have to get well below 2,000 cfs to address issues in what we refer to as “the hotel”. The hotel encompasses the last five steps of the ladder and at least two of those steps were full of sediment. I’m hoping we can return to normal operations this next week.

January 15, 2017
The station was closed on January 8 due to high water and debris issues. The Chinook count stands at 435 (Male 191, Female 188, Jack 56). The steelhead count stands at 3 (Male 1, Female 2). The ladder remains closed due to damage suffered during the week’s storms.

January 8, 2017
No Chinook this past week. The Chinook count stands at 435 (Male 191, Female 188, Jack 56). One female steelhead entered the station this past week. The steelhead count stands at 3 (Male 1, Female 2).

January 1, 2017
A single male Chinook was counted this past week. The Chinook count stands at 435 (Male 191, Female 188, Jack 56). One female steelhead entered the station this past week. The steelhead count stands at 2 (Male 1, Female 1).

December 27, 2016
The ladder was brought back on line on December 19. A single female Chinook was counted this past week. The Chinook count stands at 434 (Male 190, Female 188, Jack 56). The first steelhead (male) entered the station this past week.

December 19, 2016
Due to storm events and subsequent high flow and debris issues, the station was closed down for the week. The Chinook count stands at 433 (Male 190, Female 187, Jack 56). No steelhead.

December 12, 2016
A total of 8 Chinook were counted this past week. The Chinook count stands at 433 (Male 190, Female 187, Jack 56). No steelhead.

December 5, 2016
A total of 35 Chinook were counted this past week. The Chinook count stands at 425 (Male 185, Female 184, Jack 56). No steelhead yet and this is to be expected.

November 28, 2016
A total of 138 Chinook were counted this past week. The Chinook count stands at 390 (Male 167, Female 171, Jack 52). No steelhead yet and this is to be expected.

November 21, 2016
A total of 89 Chinook were counted this past week. The Chinook count stands at 252 (Male 110, Female 111, Jack 31). Approximately 95% of the Chinook this past week were very fresh or new to the river. No steelhead yet and this is to be expected.

November 14, 2016
A total of 54 Chinook were counted this past week. The Chinook count stands at 163 (Male 81, Female 664, Jack 16). No steelhead yet and this is to be expected.

November 7, 2016
A total of 70 Chinook were counted this past week. The Chinook count stands at 109 (Male 54, Female 44, Jack 11). No steelhead yet and this is to be expected.

October 31, 2016
The first Chinook arrived on October 25th. The Chinook count stands at 39 (Male 22, Female 10, Jack 7).


2015 – 2016

April 16, 2016
And so ends another season. Trapping has ceased at VAFS. Following are the counts to date for 15-16 season.
The Chinook count stands at 102 (Male 75, Female 21, Jack 6). The steelhead count stands at 174 (Male 68, Female 106).

April 11, 2016
The Chinook count stands at 102 (Male 75, Female 21, Jack 6). Five steelhead entered the station this past week. The steelhead count stands at 174 (Male 68, Female 106). This past week we observed a peak in Pacific lamprey migration. At this time we are not set up to count lamprey.

April 5, 2016
The Chinook count stands at 102 (Male 75, Female 21, Jack 6). Seven steelhead entered the station this past week. The steelhead count stands at 169 (Male 67, Female 102).

March 23, 2016
The Chinook count stands at 102 (Male 75, Female 21, Jack 6). Two steelhead entered the station this past week. The steelhead count stands at 162 (Male 64, Female 98)

March 15, 2016
The Chinook count stands at 102 (Male 75, Female 21, Jack 6). One steelhead entered the station this past week. The steelhead count stands at 160 (Male 62, Female 98).

March 8, 2016
The Chinook count stands at 102 (Male 75, Female 21, Jack 6). A total of 5 steelhead entered the station this past week. The steelhead count stands at 159 (Male 62, Female 97).

March 1, 2016
The Chinook count stands at 102 (Male 75, Female 21, Jack 6). A total of 5 steelhead entered the station this past week. The steelhead count stands at 154 (Male 61, Female 93).

February 23, 2016
The Chinook count stands at 102 (Male 75, Female 21, Jack 6). A total of 37 steelhead entered the station this past week. The steelhead count stands at 149 (Male 59, Female 90).

February 16, 2016
The Chinook count stands at 102 (Male 75, Female 21, Jack 6). A total of 57 steelhead entered the station this past week. The steelhead count stands at 112 (Male 48, Female 64).

February 10, 2016
No Chinook salmon entered the station this past week. The Chinook count stands at 102 (Male 75, Female 21, Jack 6). A total of 27 steelhead entered the station this past week. The steelhead count stands at 55 (Male 24, Female 31).

February 2, 2016
No Chinook salmon entered the station this past week. The Chinook count stands at 102 (Male 75, Female 21, Jack 6). Eight steelhead entered the station this past week. The steelhead count stands at 28 (Male 13, Female 15).

January 26, 2016
No Chinook salmon entered the station this past week. The Chinook count stands at 102 (Male 75, Female 21, Jack 6). Seven steelhead entered the station this past week. The steelhead count stands at 16 (Male 10, Female 6).

January 19, 2016
No Chinook salmon entered the station this past week. The Chinook count stands at 102 (Male 75, Female 21, Jack 6). One steelhead entered the station this past week. The steelhead count stands at 9 (Male 5, Female 4).

January 11, 2016
No Chinook salmon entered the station this past week. The Chinook count stands at 102 (Male 75, Female 21, Jack 6). A total of four steelhead entered the station this past week. The steelhead count stands at 8 (Male 4, Female 4).

December 28, 2015
A total of 2 Chinook entered the station this past week. The Chinook count stands at 102 (Male 75, Female 21, Jack 6). Three steelhead entered the station this past week. The steelhead count stands at 4 (Male 1, Female 3).

December 20, 2015
A total of 46 Chinook entered the station this past week. The Chinook count stands at 100 (Male 73, Female 21, Jack 6). Jacks are male fish 65cm (FL) or less. On a very rare occasion we find females that fit the jack size definition: they are termed “Jills”.  A single female steelhead showed up today. The steelhead count stands at one.

December 15, 2015
A total of 54 Chinook entered the station this past week. The Chinook count stands at 58 (Male 43, Female 13, Jack 2). No steelhead as of yet. Coho salmon are not expected at this station.

December 8, 2015
The first Chinook arrived at Van Arsdale Dam on December 5. Through December 7, the count stands at 8 males.

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Click here for historic fish count data.