Tracking River Smallmouth

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Published on: Apr. 15, 2013

bass fishing regulations are appropriate for providing quality fishing experiences for all Missouri stream anglers,” Girondo said. “Appropriate regulations entail that we understand where and how smallmouth use our streams and where and how anglers use smallmouth bass.”

University of Missouri Study

The University of Missouri is conducting telemetry studies to learn more about smallmouth behavior.

Temperature tags that are surgically placedinside the fish were used in this study to record the temperature the fish experienced at set time intervals. “These tags tell us if the fish are using warmer or colder water than we expected them to,” says Craig Paukert, leader of the Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Missouri. “We want to understand how fish growth may change if the climate changes.”

“Working with other agencies enables us to easily share ideas about how to do the study and what the results mean,” says Paukert. “We help each other collect data and share equipment, and we can plan our studies to maximize the knowledge we gain while minimizing duplicate efforts.”

National Park Service Study

Complementing the studies conducted by the Department of Conservation and the University of Missouri is the National Park Service study on how large springs influence aquatic life in adjacent streams.

Hope Dodd, of the National Park Service, and Mike Siepker, a resource scientist with the Department of Conservation, conducted a fish telemetry study using surgically implanted radio transmitter tags at Big Spring along the Current River to document the use of springs by smallmouth bass and the timing of their movement into and out of springs. Their group tagged and tracked 30 fish for a year, documenting the temperature and habitat used by smallmouth bass within the river and the spring.

Dodd says that the telemetry study data will help biologists understand the timing of movement and use of springs and river habitats by smallmouth bass, a fish species whose distribution and abundance in the Ozarks has declined, due in part to increased water temperatures over the years.

In addition to the main study, a Missouri State University graduate student completed a 24-hour radio telemetry study of some of the smallmouth bass tagged in the river. This provided information on how much movement these fish exhibit over a 24-hour period, including the specific habitat that they selected.

“Combining the temperature data with the smallmouth bass telemetry work, we can

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