Just 18 Delta smelt were found in the Delta during the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Fall Midwater Trawl, making it the second lowest index in the history of the trawl. American Shad were also found at their second lowest numbers and striped bass index was tied for its third lowest since the survey’s inception in 1967.
The Fall Midwater Trawl indexes the fall abundance of pelagic fishes by sampling 100 locations throughout the Delta monthly from September through December using the same equipment and techniques so that the indices can be compared across time. Six species are sampled for, with the annual abundance index being the sum of the individual monthly indices.
The longfin smelt fared the best of all the species sampled, being found in numbers that made it the eighth lowest in the history of the trawl, with over half of the total catch occurring in September. The index for Threadfin Shad is the fifth lowest in history, and the sixth in a series of very low indices. The results for the splittail were not released.