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Swimming with the Fishes: 1,000+ Baby Salmon in Deer Creek

Over the past several years Sierra Streams Institute has been monitoring salmon and steelhead populations in Deer Creek, a tributary to the lower Yuba River located less than a mile downstream of Englebright Dam.  Deer Creek provides spawning and potential natal and non-natal rearing habitat for Chinook salmon and steelhead trout.

This spring, after the floods and high water receded, SSI River Scientist Justin Wood began annual surveys to observe and document the presence of juvenile salmonids in Deer Creek – including snorkel surveys in which he donned a wetsuit and snorkel and swam among the fish to capture these photos of the abundant juvenile population.

Though he notes that it’s difficult of quantify juveniles, Justin estimates that there are more than a thousand baby salmon rearing in Deer Creek as of early May 2017. Likely spawned sometime between last September and early this year, they now range in size from one to three inches. Over the next month or so, these juveniles will migrate downstream from Deer Creek into the Yuba and then will continue downstream over the next several months toward the ocean.