Carbaryl has been applied in Willapa Bay, Washington, for five decades to control burrowing shrimp (Neotrypaea californiensis and Upogebia pugettensis) on commercial oyster (Crassostrea gigas) beds. Concerns about effects on nontarget species, including fishes, have led to restrictions in use despite a lack of data on in situ exposure. We measured brain acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity in adult Shiner perch (Cymatogaster aggregata) and juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) after operational applications. We hypothesized that exposure in Shiner perch would be greater than in juvenile Chinook salmon because of their greater site fidelity and benthic foraging. However, Shiner perch exhibited no statistically significant AChE inhibition. Enzyme activity was statistically decreased (≤14 %) in juvenile Chinook salmon after a second spray event; however, inhibition was less than that associated with overt effects and was similar to controls by 48 h after the spray. Diet analyses confirmed that Shiner perch were primarily feeding on benthic invertebrates and that juvenile Chinook salmon were feeding primarily within the water column. Composition of Shiner perch diets and amount of food consumed varied little among channels and time periods; however, Shiner perch on beds consumed more food 6 h after application than those at other time points and locations. There were no consistent differences in the diets of juvenile Chinook salmon within channels among time periods. Results suggest (1) that carbaryl applications pose little hazard to fish in the bay having habitat and dietary preferences similar to those of Shiner perch and juvenile Chinook salmon and (2) that quantification of direct exposure in the field is essential to adequately assess risk.