Although infrequent recruitment of new individuals into the adult spawning populations of Lost River suckers (Deltistes luxatus) and shortnose suckers (Chasmistes brevirostris) limits recovery of these species in Upper Klamath Lake, it is not clear that populations are recruitment limited in Clear Lake Reservoir (hereafter Clear Lake). Specifically, some evidence indicates that shortnose suckers may regularly recruit to the adult spawning population in Clear Lake. Therefore, a study of early life history patterns and recruitment dynamics in Clear Lake may lead to a better understanding of what is limiting recovery of suckers in both lakes. Adult suckers in Clear Lake migrate up Willow Creek and its tributaries to spawn in some years, but low flow in Willow Creek may inhibit spawning migrations in other years. It is unclear whether spawning is successful, larvae survive, or how frequently juveniles persist to adulthood. Environmental variables associated with successful spawning or young-of-year survival have not been identified, and early life history for these populations is poorly understood. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, initiated a study in 2011 to better understand juvenile sucker life history in Clear Lake, and to identify constraints in the early life history that may limit recruitment to the adult spawning populations. The relative weights of shortnose suckers from Clear Lake and Upper Klamath Lake were compared to examine differences in condition. However, it is unclear whether the disparity in relative weights between the populations reflects differences in condition, phenotype, or both. Approximately 80 percent of juvenile suckers in Clear Lake are shortnose suckers with some morphologic features similar to Klamath largescale suckers (Catostomus snyderi), whereas juvenile suckers in Upper Klamath Lake can be clearly classified as either shortnose or Lost River suckers. The presence of juvenile suckers age-3 and older indicate that production, larval survival, and juvenile survival are at least periodically sufficient to lead to recruitment into the adult population of shortnose suckers in Clear Lake.
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USGS Numbered Series
Age and condition of juvenile catostomids in Clear Lake Reservoir, California