Cooperative Research Units
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Stikine and Taku River Chinook Salmon (Onchorhynchus tshawystcha) distribution and migration patterns and their relationship to body condition


August 2015 - May 2017


The Stikine and Taku Rivers in Southeast Alaska are major producers of Chinook salmon, an ecological, cultural and economically important species to the region. The salmon from these transboundary rivers, with their headwaters in Canada, are jointly managed and harvested by American and Canadian shareholders. A radio telemetry study is being conducted on these rivers in order to better understand the behaviors of these fish, including spawning distribution, migration rates, temporal patterns and dropout rates. In addition to the telemetry information, bioelectrical impedance analysis is being measured on tagged fish to look at the relationship between migration patterns and body condition. One focus of this research will be on the success of fish passing a natural landslide that occurred on the Tahltan River, a tributary of the Stikine in which an estimated 50% of the Chinook salmon return. The May 2014 landslide created a velocity barrier resulting in many fish having to be assisted past the slide. Stationary data logging towers set at multiple locations within the river will collect information on the position and timing of individuals traveling up the rivers and aerial surveys will map the spawning distributions of tagged fish. Results from this project can be used to validate and inform current mark-recapture studies and escapement estimates and help fisheries managers set more accurate harvest limits for Chinook salmon in both American and Canadian fisheries. This project is funded by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Research Products and Activities


  • Neuneker, K., Falke, J., Jaecks, T., Richards, P., and P. Etherton. 2015. Distribution and movement rates of Chinook Salmon Onchorhynchus tshawystcha in the Stikine River based on radio telemetry. Alaska Chapter American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting, Homer, Alaska, 4-6 November, 2015.

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 101

Masters Students: 234

Phd Students: 160

Post Docs: 60

University Staff: 268

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 671

Scientific Publications: 1868

Presentations: 4326



Funding Agencies

  • Alaska Department of Fish and Game


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey