Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dynamics of endangered sucker populations in Clear Lake Reservoir, California

May 18, 2021

Executive Summary

In collaboration with the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Geological Survey began a consistent monitoring program for endangered Lost River suckers (Deltistes luxatus) and shortnose suckers (Chasmistes brevirostris) in Clear Lake Reservoir, California, in fall 2004. The program was intended to improve understanding of the Clear Lake Reservoir populations because they are important to recovery efforts for these species. We report results from the ongoing program and include sampling efforts through fall 2019. We summarize catches and passive integrated transponder (PIT) tagging efforts from trammel net sampling in the fall seasons (September–October each year) and detections of PIT-tagged suckers on remote antennas in the spring in each year from 2006 to 2019. We also combine the data from physical captures and remote detections in capture-recapture models to provide estimates of annual survival for suckers in the reservoir.

A lack of genetic distinctiveness between shortnose suckers and Klamath largescale suckers (Catostomus snyderi) in the Lost River subbasin, including Clear Lake Reservoir, is a likely cause of past difficulty in identification of these species. Field identification can be subjective for many captured individuals, and very few individuals were identified as Klamath largescale suckers in the most recent years of our monitoring program. For this report, we combine individuals that were identified as either shortnose sucker (SNS) or Klamath largescale sucker (KLS) into a single “SNS-KLS” group for most analyses. Identification of Lost River suckers (LRS) is based on external morphological characteristics.