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Wednesday, January 31 • 9:40am - 10:00am
STREAMS, DAMS & RESERVOIRS: Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu) Movement and Habitat-use in River Fragmented by Lowhead Dams

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AUTHORS. Collin Huffine, Central Michigan University; Kevin Pangle, Central Michigan University; Jerry Sweeten, Manchester University

ABSTRACT. Movement and habitat-use of the smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu), an iconic, predatory gamefish, have been studied in lotic systems throughout the United States for decades.Stream-dwelling populations tend to be classified as sedentary or migratory, yet some populations display complex movement patterns.  Movement is an integral component of smallmouth bass ecology because it allows individuals to access habitats used for feeding, overwintering, and spawning. Dams are associated with a multitude of negative ecological impacts, including restricting fish movement, degrading natural stream habitats, and altering natural temperature and flow regimes, important aspects of riverine smallmouth bass life history. Here, we use the Eel River, Indiana, as a model system for studying the movement and habitat-use of smallmouth bass in a Midwestern, warmwater stream fragmented by lowhead dams. In recent years, low recapture numbers of tagged smallmouth bass have led to uncertainty regarding the effects Eel River lowhead dams may have on movement and population dynamics. Past studies related to smallmouth bass movement and habitat-use have relied on mark recapture and radiotelemetry techniques. Our study utilized a combination of passive and active ultrasonic telemetry to monitor the seasonal movement and habitat-use of forty smallmouth bass. We predicted that our sample of smallmouth bass would display migratory behavior with distinct seasonal variations in movement and habitat-use related to environmental factors such as fluctuations in water temperature and river discharge. We hypothesized that the lack of recaptures was a direct result of lowhead dams acting as one-way barriers to fish movement. The results of this study will provide useful information for future management of smallmouth bass in the Eel River and similar warmwater systems throughout the Midwest.

Wednesday January 31, 2018 9:40am - 10:00am CST