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Understanding the influence of predation by introduced fishes on juvenile salmonids in the Columbia River Basin: closing some knowledge gaps

Environment, Fish & Wildlife Publication

Prepared for U.S. Department of Energy, Bonneville Power Administration, Environment, Fish, and Wildlife Department
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Abstract

American shad Alosa sapidissima in the middle Columbia River (MCR)—a high energy food available in the summer and fall—may be contributing to the increased growth and enhanced condition of nonnative piscivores. To test this hypothesis we quantified the late summer and autumn diets of smallmouth bass Micropterus dolomieu, walleye Sander vitreus, and channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus in the three lowermost reservoirs on the Columbia River (Bonneville [BON], The Dalles [TDA], and John Day [JDA]). The diet of smallmouth bass (SMB) was fairly similar among reservoirs, with crustaceans (52–82%) and fish (13–38%) being the dominant prey groups by percent mass. Cottidae were usually the dominant fish prey in the diet of SMB at all areas and the contribution of juvenile shad ranged from 0–8.2%. Fish (mostly Cyprinidae and Cottidae) were always the dominant prey item for walleye (WAL) at all areas and at all times, ranging from 70–100% of their diet by mass. Juvenile American shad composed from 10–27% (by mass) of the diet of walleye, depending on area and month. For channel catfish (CHC), the most common prey items consumed were crustaceans (20%–80% by mass) and unidentified items (30%–80%). Fish represented a relatively small component (< 4%) of their diet. We also evaluated the condition of SMB and WAL by determining relative weights (Wr) and hepatosomatic indices (HSI). Mean Wr for SMB greater than 300 mm ranged from 0.89 to 0.94 depending on area and month and showed a significant increase from August to September for fish in BON only. Overall, mean Wr of WAL was similar at all areas, ranging from 0.89– 0.91, and increased significantly from September to mid-October and November for fish in TDA only. Overall, mean HSI of SMB ranged from 1.18 to 1.48, did not differ between fish in different reservoirs, and increased significantly from September to mid-October and November for fish from the lower JDA only. Mean HSI of WAL was significantly higher in October and November (0.95±0.24) than in August (0.73±0.22). Collectively, our results are the first to describe the diets of SMB, WAL, and CHC over a large spatial area in the MCR during late summer and fall. Only SMB and WAL consumed relevant amounts (up to 27% by mass for walleye) of American shad, however the influence of this diet item on their condition was not discernible because these fish showed only slight increases in condition indices that did not always correspond to a dietary shift that included an increase in shad consumption, and we could not discount the importance of other prey items. Our results should be useful for future discussions regarding predation and shad management in the Columbia River.

Geospatial Extents

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
Federal Government Series
Title:
Understanding the influence of predation by introduced fishes on juvenile salmonids in the Columbia River Basin: closing some knowledge gaps
Series title:
Environment, Fish & Wildlife Publication
Year Published:
2012
Language:
English
Publisher:
Bonneville Power Administration
Publisher location:
Portland, OR
Contributing office(s):
Western Fisheries Research Center
Description:
40 p.
Number of Pages:
40
Country:
United States
State:
Oregon;Washington
Other Geospatial:
Columbia River Basin