Otolith chemistry indicates walleye movement and entrainment in a large serial reservoir system
February 25, 2017 - Author: Andrew K. Carlson, Mark J. Fincel, Brian D.S. Graeb
Journal or Book Title: Fisheries Management and Ecology
Year Published: 2017
Understanding fish movement in impounded river systems is important for fisheries management. Otolith chemistry was used to examine walleye Sander vitreus (Mitchill) intra- and inter-reservoir movement in four Missouri River impoundments. Age-0 individuals were reclassified with 75–93% accuracy to known natal sites, allowing for reliable evaluation of movement patterns of age-1 and older fish. Nearly half of walleye occupied the same location annually (i.e. site residency) between 2009 and 2010. In 2011, during the largest flood on record since 1898, downstream movement (49% of age-1 and older fish) exceeded upstream movement (7%) and site residency (33%) across the study area. After the flood, most walleye moved downstream within reservoirs (45%) or were site residents (37%). Entrainment occurred most frequently during the flood year and was proportionally greatest in downstream reservoirs. Otolith chemistry is useful for understanding walleye movement and entrainment and is a tool for fisheries management with applications such as informing reservoir water releases, harvest regulations and habitat protection and rehabilitation within and outside the Missouri River reservoir system.