Date of this Version
Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences 34 (2014), pp. 68–79
Early fisheries investigation of the Missouri River fish community indicated that Sauger were common throughout Nebraska, including all major Missouri River tributaries. However due to many factors, their current range is restricted to the Missouri River and the lower reaches of a few tributaries. Hesse (1994) recommended listing Sauger as a state endangered species but this recommendation was never implemented. Therefore, the objective of this paper is to reevaluate the current population status of Sauger in the Missouri River along Nebraska’s border. Over 2,100 Sauger have been captured from the Missouri River along Nebraska’s eastern border since 2003. Sauger were most frequently captured in the riverine reach above Gavins Point Dam where they comprised 10% to 14% of the adult fish community captured. Sauger populations appear to be relatively stable throughout this reach over the past decade. Sauger were infrequently captured below Gavins Point Dam, representing less than two percent of the adult fish community. The Sauger population below Gavins Point Dam is highly variable making any long-term trends difficult to determine. The Sauger population reacted positively to the extreme flood conditions throughout the Missouri River in 2011, especially below Gavins Point Dam. As river management has not changed over the past half century, Sauger are just one of several native fish species experiencing greatly diminished population levels and rage contraction due to major river modifications.