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To describe the pattern of use by age 0, juvenile, and adult channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) in a prairie river basin, we collected concurrent samples from tributaries and mainstem study sites in the Grand River basin of northern Missouri. Using standardized methods, we made collections in June, August, and October of 1997 and 1998. Age 0 channel catfish were found in all three streams in August, but rarely were observed in the tributaries during October. Juveniles (ages 1-3) and adults were observed in all three streams in all three months sampled. Tag returns suggested that age 2 and over channel catfish moved to overwintering locations in deepwater habitats in the mainstem river.