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During May-September 1995, we replicated an earlier (1984-85) study of fishes in shoreline habitats of the John Day Reservoir, Columbia River, to investigate fish assemblage structure at several spatial and temporal scales. A total of 37,400 resident fishes representing 24 taxa was collected in 359 beach seine hauls. Fish catch composition during 1984 and 1985 was very similar, but was greatly different from catch in 1995. During 1984-1985, four native taxa (chiselmouth, northern pikeminnow, suckers, and sand rollers) constituted more than 90% of the combined main-channel catch, with introduced taxa comprising only 1.3% of the main-channel catch. In contrast, during 1995 only 37.7% of the main-channel catch comprised chiselmouth, northern pikeminnow, suckers, and sand rollers, while 33.9% were introduced taxa, primarily sunfishes and yellow perch. This shift in catch composition was greatest in the lower reservoir where the 1995 catch was 61% introduced taxa. Although changes in species composition of near-shore reservoir fish assemblages over the 10-yr period appeared to be substantial, we are unsure of annual variability since we have only one season of sampling for comparison with the earlier study. The differences we observed could be a long-term response to reservoir aging, a short-term reaction to annual differences in hydrologic and thermal regimes, or simply the naturally varying reproductive success of some species.
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Resident fish assemblages in shallow shorelines of a Columbia River impoundment