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Open-File Report 2011-1147

Prepared in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation

Spawning Migration Movements of Lost River and Shortnose Suckers in the Williamson and Sprague Rivers, Oregon, Following the Removal of Chiloquin Dam—2009 Annual Report

By Craig M. Ellsworth and Scott P. VanderKooi


The Chiloquin Dam was located at river kilometer (rkm) 1.3 on the Sprague River near the town of Chiloquin, Oregon. The dam was identified as a barrier that potentially inhibited or prevented the upstream spawning migrations and other movements of endangered Lost River suckers (Deltistes luxatus), shortnose suckers (Chasmistes brevirostris), and other fish in the Sprague River. Our research objectives in 2009 were to evaluate adult catostomid spawning migration patterns using radio telemetry to identify and describe shifts in spawning area distribution and migration behavior following the removal of Chiloquin Dam in 2008. We attached external radio transmitters to 58 Lost River suckers and 59 shortnose suckers captured at the Williamson River fish weir. A total of 17 radio-tagged Lost River suckers and one radio-tagged shortnose sucker were detected approaching the site of the former Chiloquin Dam but only two radio-tagged fish (one male Lost River sucker and one female Lost River sucker) were detected crossing upstream of the dam site. A lower proportion of radio-tagged shortnose suckers were detected migrating into the Sprague River when compared with previous years. Detections on remote passive integrated transponder (PIT) tag arrays located in the Sprague River show that although the proportion of fish coming into the Sprague River is small when compared to the number of fish crossing the Williamson River fish weir, the number of fish migrating upstream of the Chiloquin Dam site increased exponentially in the first year since its removal. These data will be used in conjunction with larval production and adult spawning distribution data to evaluate the effectiveness of dam removal in order to provide increased access to underutilized spawning habitat located further upstream in the Sprague River and to reduce the crowding of spawning fish below the dam site.

First posted June 14, 2011

For additional information contact:
Director, Western Fisheries Research Center
U.S. Geological Survey
6505 NE 65th Street
Seattle, Washington 98115

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Suggested citation:

Ellsworth, C.M., and VanderKooi S.P., 2011, Spawning migration movements of Lost River and shortnose suckers in the Williamson and Sprague Rivers, Oregon, following the removal of Chiloquin Dam—2009 Annual Report: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011-1147, 20 p.




Study Methods

Results of Data Analyses

Sucker Spawning and Migration Patterns



References Cited

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