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Survival, movement, and distribution of juvenile Burbot in a tributary of the Kootenai River

November 1, 2017

Burbot Lota lota in the lower Kootenai River, Idaho, have been the focus of extensive conservation efforts, particularly the release of hatchery-reared juvenile Burbot into small tributaries. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game installed a fixed PIT antenna on Deep Creek, a tributary of the Kootenai River, to evaluate movement of juvenile Burbot to the Kootenai River. Since then, approximately 12,000 juvenile Burbot have been PIT-tagged and released into Deep Creek, but few Burbot have been detected at the antenna, thus raising questions about their fate in the creek. The objectives of this study were to evaluate survival, movement, and distribution of Burbot released into Deep Creek. During 2014, 3,000 age-0, 200 age-1, 16 age-2, and 16 age-4 Burbot were released at two different locations; during 2015, 3,000 age-0 Burbot were released at six different locations (i.e., 500 fish/site). Five additional stationary PIT tag antennas were installed on Deep Creek prior to stocking in 2014. Mobile PIT tag antennas were used to survey the creek in 2015 and 2016. A Barker model in Program MARK was used to estimate survival. Stationary and mobile PIT tag antennas relocated 3,372 (56%) of the Burbot released in Deep Creek during 2014 and 2015. Eighty-eight percent of PIT tags relocated during mobile surveys were relocated within 1 km of a release location. Mobile surveys of release locations in Deep Creek suggested poor dispersal from stocking locations. Survival did not vary across years or release groups. Initial 7-month survival in Deep Creek was 0.27, and survival improved to 0.63 after the first 7 months. Although survival did not differ between years or among release groups, managers may consider releasing Burbot at lower densities across multiple locations.

Publication Year 2017
Title Survival, movement, and distribution of juvenile Burbot in a tributary of the Kootenai River
DOI 10.1080/02755947.2017.1376010
Authors Zachary S. Beard, Michael C. Quist, Ryan S. Hardy, Tyler J. Ross
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title North American Journal of Fisheries Management
Index ID 70192908
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Seattle