Since 1979, abundances of sauger Stizostedion canadense have declined in the Tennessee River system. Reasons for this decline may include overharvest, loss of spawning habitat, and low recruitment due to extreme flows. The purpose of this study was to investigate the movements of saugers following winter concentration below Pickwick Dam, Tennessee. Thirty-seven saugers were implanted with radio transmitters directly below Pickwick Dam and were tracked between December 1992 and June 1993. Four saugers moved upstream through the locks at Pickwick Dam; the remaining fish stayed within the first 30 km of the tailwater throughout the spawning season. Three areas below Pickwick Dam were identified as possible March pre-spawn staging sites. After April 1, saugers in the tailwater area began a rapid downstream migration to the main basin of Kentucky Lake. Some fish moved downstream more than 200 km in less than 10 d in this semiclosed system. Movements encompassed four states (Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama) along the Tennessee River system, underscoring the need for interjurisdictional management.
Additional publication details
Movement of saugers in the lower Tennessee River determined by radio telemetry, and implications for management