Stubborn spring-run salmon

Move upstream already!

A school of spring-run salmon is hanging out in the pool beneath Warner Street Bridge on Big Chico Creek, and while recent rains may help flush them upstream, there is a chance the Department of Fish and Game will need to intervene if the salmon don’t move to colder waters on their own, said Jeff Mott, manager of the Butte Creek Reserve and Chico State’s Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve.

Mott went to view the fish in mid-May after hearing about their presence, and could see about 20 salmon swimming in the pool (but, due to the depth, the numbers could be as high as 60). In order for the fish to survive the summer heat, they must swim upstream into cooler water. In the past, the fish have gotten stuck in the Warner Street Bridge pool and in Bidwell Park, and DFG employees have had to move the fish to colder waters with buckets, trucks and even helicopters.

“If they get stuck in Bidwell Park, which often happens, or in Iron Canyon [near Bear Hole], or the Warner Street Bridge, they won’t make it,” he said.

The last time Mott remembers DFG intervening with the fish under Warner Street Bridge was about 10 years ago, he said.