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American Shad Passage Reports
RELATED PAGES: Shad Index -- Susquehanna Reports (current)

Much of this spring's fish passage operations were adversely affected by persistent rainfall and cool weather. River flow trend in 2003 was generally stable throughout May at 30,000-53,000 cfs at the Harrisburg gage, followed by a high flow event in early June to over 130,000 cfs. Water temperature at Conowingo rose slowly from 54 F in mid-April to 65 F by early June.

Fish Passage
Conowingo East lift began alternate day operation on April 15 and passed its first shad on April 25. Over the next 3 weeks about 107,000 shad had passed with a peak day count of 13,749 fish on May 4. Operations continued daily through June 2 and the season total is 125,135 American shad. This was the third best year ever at Conowingo.

The Conowingo West lift operated on 31 days between April 27 and June 2 and trapped 9,802 shad. About 1,400 fish were used for tank spawning at Conowingo, 400 were hauled by Maryland DNR to their Manning Hatchery, about 200 were sacrificed for otoliths, and most of the remainder were released alive to the tailrace.

Holtwood operated most days from April 28 through June 2 making 453 lifts from the tailrace and 123 from the spillway. Total passage counts amounted to 25,254 shad with over 22,000 of these (87%) coming prior to May 14. This project spilled persistently throughout much of the season and their shad passage total amounted to only 20% of fish counted at Conowingo.

The Safe Harbor lift operated daily from May 2 through June 3, and, following a suspension during the high flow event, restarted for June 11-16. For the season, a total of 16,646 shad passed this site (66% of Holtwood), 11,800 of which passed prior to May 17.

York Haven began passing shad at the East Channel fishway on May 6 and operated most days through June 16. Total shad counts for the season were 2,536 (15% of Safe Harbor), about 2/3 of which passed by May 22.

Click here for 2003 summary table for all fish-ways with daily counts, water temperatures and more!

Shad Passages 2003
Click on Individual Counts for Detailed Reports
- upstream - York Haven Safe Harbor Holtwood Conowingo - downstream -
June 14 2,535 16,645** ** ** June 14
June 7 2,472 16,625* 25,254* 125,135* June 7
May 31 2,444 16,323 25,184 124,944 May 31
May 24 1,862 14,277 24,018 118,785 May 24
May 17 1,048 12,122 22,579 107,579 May 17
May 10 716 7,767 16,354 88,911 May 10
May 3 - 2,189 8,130 49,514 May 3
April 26 - - 106 4,586 April 26
April 19 - - - 0 April 19
Reports are updated weekly, note the graphic on the home and fishing pages may be updated between weekly reports; therefore, numbers may be different.
* Operations suspended due to high water 6/2 and 6/3, will remain closed until water levels recede.
** Operations ceased for 2003. Last date of operation: Conowingo and Holtwood - 6/2, Safe Harbor - 6/16.
Susquehanna River fish lifts/ladders

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