The spring spawning migration is a key period for effective management of anadromous populations of striped bass Morone saxatilis. Information on migratory behavior is needed in order to develop appropriate harvest regulations and to conduct effective surveys while fish are on the spawning grounds. We used ultrasonic telemetry to estimate the timing and duration of the upriver spawning migration for the Roanoke River, North Carolina, population and to evaluate whether a short-term fluctuation in temperature or flow would alter the distribution of telemetered fish on the spawning grounds. Seventy-eight fish implanted with transmitters were released during 1993 and 1994. Twenty-nine telemetered fish migrated upriver in 1994, and 14 telemetered fish entered the river in 1995. Migration of telemetered fish began in mid- to late April when water temperatures in the lower river reached 17-18??C. Males began their spawning migration significantly earlier than females in 1994; the difference was not significant in 1995. The 165-km upriver migration took about a week, as did the downriver migration after the spawning season. In 1994 and 1995 respectively, males remained on the spawning grounds for averages of 22 and 21 d, females for 8 and 11 d. Because of shorter residency times only about half the telemetered females were on the spawning grounds at any one time during the peak of the spawning season. Striped bass remained on the spawning grounds during a short-term temperature decrease of about 4??C (over 5 d) and an increase in flow from about 190 to 390 m3/s (over 1 d).
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Spawning migration of telemetered striped bass in the Roanoke River, North Carolina