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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

Pallid Sturgeon Monitoring – the 2014 Edition

Region 3, June 11, 2014
A Pallid Sturgeon is released back to the Missouri River.
A Pallid Sturgeon is released back to the Missouri River. - Photo Credit: n/a
Heather Garrison with an albinistic Blue Catfish captured during winter gill netting.
Heather Garrison with an albinistic Blue Catfish captured during winter gill netting. - Photo Credit: n/a
Heather Garrison with a large sturgeon that was field identified as Shovelnose X Pallid Sturgeon Hybrid.
Heather Garrison with a large sturgeon that was field identified as Shovelnose X Pallid Sturgeon Hybrid. - Photo Credit: n/a
Colby Wrasse with a large Silver Carp captured during winter gill netting.
Colby Wrasse with a large Silver Carp captured during winter gill netting. - Photo Credit: n/a
A Lake Sturgeon, endangerd in the state of Missouri, captured during spring trotlining on the Missouri River.
A Lake Sturgeon, endangerd in the state of Missouri, captured during spring trotlining on the Missouri River. - Photo Credit: n/a

Long term monitoring of Missouri River fish populations remains an important component of pallid sturgeon recovery efforts. We who work at the Columbia Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office monitor the lower 250 miles of the Missouri River as part of the larger basin-wide Pallid Sturgeon Population Assessment Project. We deploy a suite of gears designed to catch pallid sturgeon of all sizes, as well as other species of the fish community. Unusually persistent ice on the Lower Missouri River prevented sampling during much of this past winter - which made for an extra busy spring. By the end of May, we had completed our standard gill net and trotline efforts for the 2014 season.

This year was notable for the relatively high gill net catches of Pallid Sturgeon and the overall strong representation of the 2011 pallid sturgeon hatchery year class. Once again, shovelnose sturgeon was the most common species collected in both gill nets and trotlines, and blue sucker catches appeared to be promising. This year represents the 12th year Columbia FWCO has fully implemented the Pallid Sturgeon Population Assessment Project.

Contact Info: Colby Wrasse, 573-234-2132 x30, colby_wrasse@fws.gov