US Fish & Wildlife Service


Date of this Version



Published in Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 135:1499–1511, 2006 American Fisheries Society 2006 DOI: 10.1577/T05-201.1


Telemetry was used to evaluate seasonal and diel movement patterns, general habitat use, survival, and spatial distributions of hatchery-reared juvenile pallid sturgeon Scaphirhynchus albus stocked in the Missouri River below Fort Randall Dam, South Dakota and Nebraska. Sampling occurred at about 2-week intervals during spring through fall. Of 22 ultrasonically tagged fish, 13 were intensively followed to assess hourly diel movement rates. A total of 258 relocations were made for the 22 tagged fish; 19 fish were relocated at least once, and 16 were relocated multiple times. At least 68% of tagged fish survived for 2.5 years. In 2000, fish were found mainly upstream of the stocking site, whereas in 2001 and 2002 the entire reach was used. Juveniles were found primarily in the main channel at depths exceeding 80% of the maximum channel cross-section depth, where bottom current velocities ranged from 0.1 to 0.9 m/s. Clusters of juvenile pallid sturgeon (i.e., two or more fish) within 750 m of each other were observed on 15 dates, and clusters of juveniles within 500 m of each other were observed on 10 dates. Clusters were observed during all seasons. Mean (±2 SE) range of movement was significantly less in 2000 (8.3±5.8 km) than in 2001 (29.3 ± 8.8 km) and 2002 (28.9±15.0 km). We detected no significant differences in movement rates among years, seasons, or diel periods (i.e., dawn, daytime, dusk, and night). Our study indicates that range of movements of juvenile pallid sturgeon based on shorter studies (i.e.,≤1 year) should be interpreted cautiously because hatchery-reared fish may not have acclimated to the riverine environment until the second year after stocking. Based on survival and distribution of juvenile pallid sturgeon throughout the study area, we conclude that this reach is suitable for recovery efforts.