Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Dam Experienced Pallid
Midwest Region, April 26, 2011
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Lock and Dam #1 on the Osage River in Missouri, is a lowhead dam

dating back to the steamboat era. As with all dams, this structure impedes

fish movement. Past research by our office has shown that federally

endangered pallid sturgeon congregate below this structure, but we were

unsure if these fish could move upstream of the dam - even during high

water. During a period of high water from April 25-27, 2011 we sampled

above Lock and Dam #1 using trotlines baited with nightcrawlers, to

determine if any pallid sturgeon had moved upstream of the structure.

During the three day period we ran 1,200 hooks and collected a single

pallid sturgeon.

To my knowledge this was the first documented pallid sturgeon in the

Osage River above Lock and Dam #1. This pallid sturgeon measured 444

mm and weighed 250 g and was

caught approximately five miles above

the dam. The fish was of hatchery

origin, bearing a yellow elastomere

tag on the left side of the rostrum and

a lateral scute mark on the third right

scute. Hatchery records suggest that

this fish was stocked in 2007 in the

South Dakota portion of the Missouri

River at river mile 845, meaning that

this fish made it through Gavin’s Point

Dam, downstream to the mouth of the

Osage River, and then traveled up the

Osage past Lock and Dam #1 – for a

total journey of 732 miles and two dams! Curiously, this fish was found in

a clear, cold and shallow river with natural gravel substrate – quite similar

to the habitat near the Niobrara River confluence where it was stocked.

Also of interest was the capture of a shovelnose sturgeon that our office

had previously tagged on the Missouri River in 2007.

The captures of these two fish indicate that fish passage is possible at

Lock and Dam #1 at certain water levels or flows. However, relatively low

catch rates for sturgeon, among other fishes, above the structure suggest

that the dam may impede upstream movement. More research is needed

to fully understand how Lock and Dam #1 affects fish movement in the

Osage River.

Colby Wrasse

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