The abundance of adult saugers Sander canadensis was estimated over 179 km of continuous lotic habitat across a watershed on the western periphery of their natural distribution in Wyoming. Three-pass depletions with raft-mounted electrofishing gear were conducted in 283 pools and runs among 19 representative reaches totaling 51 km during the late summer and fall of 2002. From 2 to 239 saugers were estimated to occur among the 19 reaches of 1.6-3.8 km in length. The estimates were extrapolated to a total population estimate (mean ?? 95% confidence interval) of 4,115 ?? 308 adult saugers over 179 km of lotie habitat. Substantial variation in mean density (range = 1.0-32.5 fish/ha) and mean biomass (range = 0.5-16.8 kg/ha) of adult saugers in pools and runs was observed among the study reaches. Mean density and biomass were highest in river reaches with pools and runs that had maximum depths of more than 1 m, mean daily summer water temperatures exceeding 20??C, and alkalinity exceeding 130 mg/L. No saugers were captured in the 39 pools or runs with maximum water depths of 0.6 m or less. Multiple-regression analysis and the information-theoretic approach were used to identify watershed-scale and instream habitat features accounting for the variation in biomass among the 244 pools and runs across the watershed with maximum depths greater than 0.6 m. Sauger biomass was greater in pools than in runs and increased as mean daily summer water temperature, maximum depth, and mean summer alkalinity increased and as dominant substrate size decreased. This study provides an estimate of adult sauger abundance and identifies habitat features associated with variation in their density and biomass across a watershed, factors important to the management of both populations and habitat. ?? Copyright by the American Fisheries Society 2006.
Additional Publication Details
Abundance of adult saugers across the Wind River watershed, Wyoming