Chasing Chinook in the Upper Klamath Basin
The operating theater is simple: sponges; a few instruments; and what looks like a foam yoga block. Rachelle Tallman, a graduate student in Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology at UC Davis, places a small fish—a juvenile spring Chinook salmon—into the ovoid depression on top of the block. Working quickly but carefully, she uses a scalpel to make a small incision along the fish’s belly, then gently places a lentil-sized object—an acoustic transmitter—into the incision. “356 Delta,” Tallman says, reading the number off the tag. Then she starts suturing. Tallman is working in the parking lot at Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Klamath Fish Hatchery near Chiloquin, Oregon. Two colleagues help record data and supply her with fresh fish that are dosed with an anesthetic. There’s a small crowd gathered on this cloudy April day: biologists and technicians from ODFW, the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife; staff from the Klamath Tribes and Trout Unlimited; students from UC Davis and the University of Oregon.