We investigated the population size and the proportion of the population of American shad Alosa sapidissima that passed through the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam, a low-head lock and dam on the Savannah River in South Carolina and Georgia. We fitted 110 American shad with radio transmitters in 2001 and 2002. All but two fish moved downstream after transmitter implantation. In 2001, a smaller proportion of American shad implanted with radio transmitters earlier in the season returned to the dam than fish released later. Of the fish that returned to the dam, over 50% in 2001 and 9% in 2002 passed through the lock and continued migrating upstream. In both years, the modal daily movement distance was less than 1 km. Movements greater than 5 km/d were generally associated with fish rapidly returning upstream after their initial downstream movement. Continuous diel monitoring indicated that movements greater than 0.1 km/h were more frequent at night than during the day. In both years, American shad were not uniformly distributed over the study area but were predominantly grouped just below the dam and in a relatively large pool approximately 6 km below the dam. We estimated the population size of American shad that reached the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam at 157,685 in 2001 and 217,077 in 2002.
Additional publication details
Movement and population size of American shad near a low-head lock and dam