Rapid dewatering in rivers as a consequence of hydropower operations may cause stranding of juvenile fish and have a negative impact on fish populations. We implemented stranding into an Atlantic salmon population model in order to evaluate long-term effects on the population in the Dale River, Western Norway. Furthermore, we assessed the sensitivity of the stranding model to dewatered area in comparison to biological parameters, and compared different methods for calculating wetted area, the main abiotic input parameter to the population model. Five scenarios were simulated dependent on fish life-stage, season and light level. Our simulation results showed largest negative effect on the population abundance for hydropeaking during winter daylight. Salmon smolt production had highest sensitivity to the stranding mortality of older juvenile fish, suggesting that stranding of fish at these life-stages is likely to have greater population impacts than that of earlier life-stages. Downstream retention effects on the ramping velocity were found to be negligible in the stranding model, but are suggested to be important in the context of mitigation measure design. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.