Big Chico Creek Spring-run Chinook and Water Temperature Monitoring
Big Chico Creek’s Iron Canyon fish ladder.
Big Chico Creek (BCC) originates on Colby Mountain and flows 45 miles to its confluence with the Sacramento River. Watershed elevation ranges from about 120 feet at the mouth to 6000 feet on Colby Mountain. The creek supports a diverse array of aquatic and terrestrial species though spring-run Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
) and steelhead (O. mykiss
) are the primary focus species on the creek. Depending on water year type, summer water temperatures in Big Chico Creek can be marginal for holding spring-run Chinook salmon. High water temperature can lead to mortality for holding adults and can make salmon more prone to disease outbreak as well as limit their ability to tolerate other stresses. Other concerns include adult migration delays at Iron Canyon and at 1 Mile Recreation Area.