The DNR Sauk Rapids Area Fisheries Office conducted radio telemetry on 30 smallmouth bass between St. Cloud Dam and Coon Rapids Dam on the Mississippi River from August 2001-August 2002.
Radio transmitters were surgically implanted in 30 smallmouth bass captured in six locations, on a 96 km reach of the Mississippi River between the St. Cloud and Coon Rapids Dams. Movements were documented over a 12-month period, and habitat use associated with each fish location was characterized. Over 2000 individual fish locations were recorded during the 12-month period.
Smallmouth bass made distinct fall migrations of up to 27 km to wintering areas, and spring migrations of up to 29 km to spawning areas. Stream depth used by smallmouth bass during summer ranged from 0.1 to 4.6 m. Smallmouth used deeper water during cold-water periods. Smallmouth bass commonly used eddy habitats throughout the majority of the year, and moderately used pools and runs. Riffles, center channel run/eddies, backwaters and tributaries were not used as often.
Smallmouth bass in this stretch of the Mississippi River had relatively small home ranges during summer and winter. Home range size during summer varied between 0.4 and 19.0 ha, while winter home ranges were between 0.2 and 20.2 ha. Smallmouth bass traveled distances which ranged from 1.7 and 54.6 km, which could have a significant impact on angling regulations.
Radio telemetry was a valuable tool in determining behavior and movement patterns of larger smallmouth bass for this area of the Mississippi River. We observed several smallmouth bass that crossed the regulation boundary in Dayton. A better understanding was gained of the influence of artificially increased temperatures due to a nuclear power generation and manually adjusted flows from hydroelectric operation.
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