Plan B

We have fish! Wooohoo!! I have been at the Klamath Falls Fish and Wildlife office for almost three months working on propagating endangered shortnose suckers. It took two months before I even got a chance to see one. To recap, we originally intended to collect eggs from spawning adult fish. We planned to raise the larvae in dock-suspended cages with the hope that the improved water quality and protection from predators would provide our juvenile fish with a better chance at survival during this critical life stage. The twist was that a surprisingly low number of fish were seen spawning this year and those that were caught didn’t have eggs that we could use.

This brings us to this blog entry in which we begin Plan B: Late night fishing for hatched larvae. We spent several days doing double shifts, office employees by day and larval fishers by night. It was a tough week of hanging drift nets in the river between 8:00pm and 12:00am and then returning in the morning to put what we caught in our floating cages. But you know what? Success!!

Just look at how cute they are!

Suckers galore!

Suckers galore!

Suckers suckers suckers!

Suckers suckers suckers!

Here’s the glamour shot:

An adorable larval sucker

An adorable larval sucker

About that step of putting them in our cages…. In my last blog post I described how we were almost finished with setting up our docks. It turns out we were a little farther away than we thought. Long story short, the nets we ordered were longer than the docks we built. This meant that instead of using our finished individual docks, we needed rearrange them into two large docks and use the extra pieces to extend the legs. And we had to do it all while floating in the middle of the lake. And remember how our docks looked like this?

Before: Tule Lake individual dock

Before: Tule Lake individual dock

Here’s how they looked after only a week of being on the water:

After: Our fragrant, reassembled dock at Tule Lake

After: Our fragrant, reassembled dock at Tule Lake

Oh boy! I won’t bore you with details but to sum it up, it was terrible.

The good news is that after a week of reassembly, the docks are now finished at both Upper Klamath Lake and Tule Lake. They both have baby fish in them and I can officially say that the hard part of this summer is over. From here on out, we are simply monitoring the cages to make sure that everything is running smoothly. Here’s hoping that everything does!

Finished dock at Upper Klamath Lake, complete with juvenile fish!

Finished dock at Upper Klamath Lake, complete with juvenile fish!

-Alanna

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