Techniques were developed to determine which life stages of fish are vulnerable to barotrauma from expansion of internal gases during decompression. Eggs, larvae, and juvenile hatchery-reared white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus; up to 91'days post hatch; d.p.h.) were decompressed to assess vulnerability to barotrauma and identify initial swim bladder inflation. Barotrauma-related injury and mortality were first observed 9'd.p.h., on the same day as initial exogenous feeding. However, barotrauma-related injury did not occur again until swim bladder inflation 75'd.p.h. (visible at necropsy and on radiographs). Swim bladder inflation was not consistent among individuals, with only 44% being inflated 91'd.p.h. Additionally, swim bladder inflation did not appear to be size dependent among fish ranging in total length from 61 to 153'mm at 91'd.p.h. The use of a combination of decompression tests and radiography was validated as a method to determine initial swim bladder inflation and vulnerability to barotrauma. Extending these techniques to other species and life-history stages would help to determine the susceptibility of fish to hydro turbine passage and aid in fish conservation.