Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Movement dynamics of smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) in a large river-tributary system

August 26, 2021

Smallmouth bass, Micropterus dolomieu Lacepède, movement dynamics were investigated in a connected mainstem river-tributary system. Smallmouth bass moved large distances annually (n = 84 fish, average = 24.6 ± 25.9 km, range = 0.03 to 118 km) and had three peak movement periods (pre-spawn, post-spawn and overwintering). Movement into and out of tributaries was common, but the movement between mainstem river and tributary habitats varied among tagging locations and season. In general, a large proportion of fish that were tagged in tributaries moved out of the tributaries after spawning (22/30 fish). Because of the importance of fish movement patterns on population dynamics, the observed individual variability in movement, quantified using a hierarchical model, and the potential for long-distance movements are important considerations for smallmouth bass conservation and management. In addition, mainstem river-tributary connectivity appears to play an important role for smallmouth bass during key life history events.

Related Content