FISHPass User Guide

For specific questions about setting up an account, opperating the tool, refinning your results, and more, please reference the FISHPass User Guide (PDF). This interactive document walks users through various questions step-by-step. If your quesitons are not addressed in the User Guide, please contact for additional support. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What is FISHPass?

FISHPass is a free, online, open-source decision-support tool developed by the California Fish Passage Forum designed to help users identify fish passage barriers for remediation. FISHPass is an optimization model that uses barrier information from the California Passage Assessment Database (PAD), accounts for spatial layout of the barriers in the network, cumulative barrier passability, potential upstream habitat, and optiononally, estimated costs.  

FISHPass is based on, and built using OptiPassTM, a Microsoft Windows®-based program developed by Jesse O’Hanley of Ecotelligence in 2015. For more information on how the optimization functions, see OptiPass: The Migratory Fish Passage Optimization Tool, Version 1.1 User Manual (O’Hanley 2015). The web interface for this version of FISHPass was developed by Ecotrust.

What is the California Fish Passage Forum (Forum)?

The California Fish Passage Forum (Forum) is an association of public, private, and government organizations with the goal of protecting and restoring connectivity of freshwater habitats for listed anadromous salmonid species, and other aquatic organisms in California. The Forum is one of 20 nationally recognized fish habitat partnerships (FHPs) in the United States. Through its work, the Forum seeks to advance its own goals, and those of the National Fish Habitat Partnership (NFHP) which are to protect, restore, and enhance the nation's fish and aquatic communities through partnerships that foster fish habitat conservation and improve quality of life for all Americans. 

Learn more about the Forum here:

Learn more about NFHP:

Why did the Forum develop FISHPass?

There are thousands of fish passage barriers in California, and prioritization methods on which barriers to remediate differ widely throughout the state. Recognizing hte need to ease, and possibly standardize this process, the Forum set out to create a tool that could provide one state-wide method to assist in making these decisions. 

How often are the FISHPass data inputs updated?

For more than a decade, FISHPass has evolved from the original Microsoft-based OptiPass model, to the current web-based interface you see today. Throughout this evolution, the Forum has worked with its partners to collect, analyze, and refine the input data used in its current form. FISHPass represents a true collaborative effort, and is a "living tool". While the Forum recognizes there are still information gaps, and data will constantly need to be updated. The data and information FISHPass includes reprsentes the best available to the Forum at the time incorporated. To keep the tool as up-to-date and relevant as possible, the Forum plans to continue updating FISHPass as new resources and information are made available.

How can users help keep FISHPass up-to-date?

Users can help keep the data used in FISHPass as up-to-date and reliable as possible. If users encounter data that they know is out-of-date, incorrect, or missing, they are encouraged to contact the Forum at and/or the PAD Administrator with updates on barriers in your area or that you're familiar with.