Survey: Snake River Sturgeon Benefited from High Water Levels

High flows in the Snake River last spring appeared to benefit white sturgeon reproduction between Bliss and C.J. Strike dams. Each fall Idaho Power biologists sample for juvenile sturgeon in C.J. Strike Reservoir to monitor natural production in what’s known as the Bliss Reach of the Snake River.

Although data is still being compiled, 2017 may turn out to be one of the more successful reproduction years produced since monitoring began in this reach. So far, more than 185 young-of-year sturgeon have been tagged since September.

Growth of young juveniles in this reach is also some of the highest reported among the species’ range. Sturgeon that were first captured as tiny larvae in June now average 10.2 inches in length with the fastest growing individuals already measuring 13 inches and 8 ounces.

Information gathered in this survey will be compared to previous years as well as provide an estimate of juvenile abundance for 2017. Only a handful of water years since 2006 have had river flows large enough during spring spawning to provide the conditions that promote high survival for early life stages. Fortunately, these have been enough to maintain the Bliss population.

For a look at young-of-year sampling, see this eNews video from a previous survey, available at

Brad Bowlin
Communications Specialist