Seasonally operated barriers in rivers are used by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission to block adult sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) migrations, yet pass other fish during some part of the year. Knowledge of the overlap of spawning migrations of sea lampreys and other fish species are vital for the efficient operation of the Commission's barrier program. The migration of sea lamprey spawners was compared with the migration of four other fish species using trap captures at electric barriers on eight Lake Superior tributaries during 1954 to 1979. The passage of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax), longnose suckers (Catostomus catostomus), and white suckers (Catostomus commersoni) prior to the capture of sea lampreys was quantified as the proportion of the annual catch of each species. Average passage over all streams and years was smallest (5%) for longnose sucker and largest (21%) for rainbow smelt. Passage prior to first sea lamprey catch was significantly different among rivers for all four species and significantly different among years for rainbow trout. Much of the variability in annual passage was unexplained by river or year effects. It is suggested that stream-specific information on run times of sea lampreys and other fishes be used to define timing of seasonal barrier operations. If barrier operations are timed to block the entire sea lamprey spawning run, then fish passage devices are needed to pass rainbow trout, rainbow smelt, longnose suckers, and white suckers.
Additional publication details
Passage of four teleost species prior to sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) migration in eight tributaries of Lake Superior, 1954-1979