The impoundment of the Colorado River by Glen Canyon Dam, Arizona, in 1963 created a highly regulated environment in the Grand Canyon that altered the native fish populations, including the flannelmouth sucker Catostomus latipinnis. Flannelmouth suckers were sampled from 1991 to 2001 to determine seasonal, annual, and spatial trends in fish condition (i.e., relative weight [Wr]). Mean Wr peaked during the prespawn and spawning periods and was lowest in summer and fall, but it was never lower than 93. Condition was variable throughout the Grand Canyon but was typically greatest at intermediate distances from Glen Canyon Dam, possibly because of the increased number of warmwater tributaries in this reach. Flannelmouth sucker condition in September was positively correlated with Glen Canyon Dam discharge during summer (June-August); this result may be due to the larger euphotic zone and greater macroinvertebrate abundance observed during higher water flows. Increased dam discharge that stimulates river productivity may provide benefits for this native fish.
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Factors affecting condition of flannelmouth suckers in the Colorado River, Grand Canyon, Arizona