USFWS
Fisheries & Ecological Services
Alaska Region   

 

Fairbanks Fish & Wildlife Field Office
Fisheries and Habitat Restoration

Past Inventory and monitoring projects:

Yukon River Whitefish.  R. BrownWhitefish biology, distribution and fisheries in the Yukon and Kuskokwim River Drainages 2012:

This exciting collaborative project brought biologists and technicians from the Fish and Wildlife Fairbanks Field Office together with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to synthesize all of the available information about whitefish. This included documenting the current distributions, taxonomy, and habitat needs of whitefish species as well as the current whitefish harvest and management based on community studies and regional harvest surveys. Report

 

 

Distribution and genetic origin of Chinook salmon rearing in tributary streams of the Yukon river 2008-2010:
Fisheries biologist Dave Daum investigated the rearing habitats of juvenile Chinook salmon outside their natal streams and found Canadian-origin Chinook in eight of the 57 U.S. tributaries that were sampled. The genetic analysis at 13 microsatellite loci indicate that the Candian-origin fish were mainly from the Carmacks region. The ago-0 juvenile Chinook salmon were rearing in tributaries up to 1,200 km from the streams where they were born. Report

Photo of Chinook fry Eagle Student Project FWS employee setting traps on Beaver Creek

Inventory of anadromous and resident fish species in tributaries of the Tanana Rivers 2008-2009:
Biological technician Nicole Legere and Fisheries biologist Ray Hander used minnow traps, fyke nets, backpack eletrofisher, dip nets, angling and observation to sample several creeks along the Tanana River systems to learn about what fish are present in these streams. Species captured included: Arctic lamprey Lampetra camtschatica, lake chub Couesius plumbeus, longnose sucker Catostomus atostomus, northern pike Esox lucius, round whitefish Prosopium cylindraceum, humpback whitefish Coregonus pidschian, Arctic grayling Thymallus arcticus, burbot Lota lota, and slimy sculpin Cottus cognatus, and Chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha. This work is important for understanding fish habitat and distribution. Report

Chinook Salmon Tanana Flats Arctic Grayling Tanana Flats Fork Chena Chinook

Identifying seasonal migrations and habitats for whitefish in the Selawik River Delta 2004-2006:
Thousands of whitefish are harvested each year by the residents of Selawik from the Selawik River delta in northwest Alaska, yet little is known about the fish populations, their migrations in the region, or the habitats they use. Five whitefish species are found in the Selawik River drainage, including: broad whitefish Coregonus nasus, humpback whitefish C. pidschian, Inconnu (sheefish) Stenodus leucichthys, round whitefish Prosopium cylindraceum and least cisco C. sardinella. Biologist Randy Brown implanted radio transmitters in 64 broad whitefish, 64 humpback whitefish, and 32 least cisco during 2004 and 2005 to identify their seasonal migrations and essential habitats. Harvest surveys indicate that up to 33% of the total wild food harvest is made up by broad whitefish. The Selawik River delta is an extraordinarily productive environment for whitefish.

Yukon River Whitefish.  R. Brown

 

Kaktovik Project – 2003-2005
This project evaluated the stock status and trends of Arctic cisco and Dolly Varden in lagoons adjacent to the village of Kaktovik in Arctic Refuge. Objectives of the study were to measure relative abundance, determine length and weight characteristics, and compare current data with baseline data from 1988-1991. Fyke nets were set at four stations in Kaktovik and Jago lagoons. Approximately 1,500 Arctic cisco and 1,000 Dolly Varden were captured and released. Numbers of incidental species ranged from 600 Arctic cod, 200 saffron cod, 200 fourhorn sculpin, and smaller numbers of Arctic sculpin, threespine stickleback, and least cisco. Lengths and weights were measured for Arctic cisco and Dolly Varden to compare to historic values.

 

 

 

Yukon River Video Project
Fish wheels are commonly used as a capture method to determine relative abundance and run timing of Yukon River salmon. These “test wheel” catch rates are used by fishery managers to assess the in-season salmon runs on a daily basis. The wheels use live boxes to store fish until they are counted by dip netting. Recent studies on Yukon River fall chum salmon suggest that holding time and crowding in live boxes may affect the ability of fish to travel upstream to spawning streams. This is of particular concern during years of low salmon abundance. Link to fact sheet

Video systems attached to fish wheels obtain Chinook and chum salmon passage rates and timing without the need to handle or hold fish. These systems reduce operational costs and provide a permanent visual record of all fish captured.

Yukon River Whitefish.  R. Brown Eagle Student Project

Identifying seasonal migrations and habitats for whitefish in the Selawik River Delta 2004-2006:
Thousands of whitefish are harvested each year by the residents of Selawik from the Selawik River delta in northwest Alaska, yet little is known about the fish populations, their migrations in the region, or the habitats they use. Five whitefish species are found in the Selawik River drainage, including: broad whitefish Coregonus nasus, humpback whitefish C. pidschian, Inconnu (sheefish) Stenodus leucichthys, round whitefish Prosopium cylindraceum and least cisco C. sardinella. Biologist Randy Brown implanted radio transmitters in 64 broad whitefish, 64 humpback whitefish, and 32 least cisco during 2004 and 2005 to identify their seasonal migrations and essential habitats. Harvest surveys indicate that up to 33% of the total wild food harvest is made up by broad whitefish. The Selawik River delta is an extraordinarily productive environment for whitefish. Report

 

Last updated: January 13, 2015