Lower Flathead System Fisheries Study, 1984 Annual Report.

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This study was undertaken to assess the effects of Kerr Dam operations on the fisheries of the Lower Flathead System. Supported by Bonneville Power Administration funding, and conducted by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, the study began in December of 1982 and is scheduled for completion in December of 1987. This report covers the 1983-84 field season and includes the status of target fish species populations in the Flathead River and tributaries, and initial work in South Bay of Flathead Lake. Additionally it addresses how Kerr operations may effect the reproduction of salmonids and northern pike. Combined trout population ... continued below

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188 pages

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Darling, James E.; Pajak, Paul & Wunderlich, Mary P. December 1, 1984.

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Description

This study was undertaken to assess the effects of Kerr Dam operations on the fisheries of the Lower Flathead System. Supported by Bonneville Power Administration funding, and conducted by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, the study began in December of 1982 and is scheduled for completion in December of 1987. This report covers the 1983-84 field season and includes the status of target fish species populations in the Flathead River and tributaries, and initial work in South Bay of Flathead Lake. Additionally it addresses how Kerr operations may effect the reproduction of salmonids and northern pike. Combined trout population estimates for rainbow, brown, brook, and bull trout, averaged 13 fish/km of the lower Flathead River. The number of bull trout and cutthroat trout captured was so low that estimation of their individual populations was not possible. An interim closure to trout harvest on the lower Flathead River was recommended and approved by the Tribal Council until study results can be further analyzed and management options reviewed. Population estimates for northern pike ranged from six/kilometer in poorer habitat, to one hundred three/km in the best habitat in the main Flathead River. Seven pike were radio tagged and their movements monitored. Movements of over 89 km were recorded. One fish left the Flathead River and moved down the Clark Fork to the Plains area. Fish weirs were constructed on the Jocko River and Mission Creek to assess spawning runs of trout from the main river. Thirty-two adult rainbow passed the Jocko weir and twenty-eight passed the Mission weir during the spring spawning season. Twenty adult brown trout were captured at the Jocko weir and five at Mission weir in the fall. The Jocko weir suffered minor damage due to bed load movement during high flows of spring runoff. The structure of trout populations in the lower Flathead River points to spawning and recruitment problems caused by hydroelectric operations and sedimentation. Among the consequences of the present operational regime are constant, rapid changes in river discharge during spawning and Incubation seasons of trout species present in the lower river. Hamilton and Buell (1976) reported that similar fluctuation might exceed tolerance limits of adults and inhibit spawning behavior, dewater redds, strand fry, and displace juveniles to habitats less suitable for survival. Similar problems are felt to exist on the lower river. Constant fluctuations over backwater vegetation have been linked to major problems in successful northern pike spawning and recruitment by preventing access to spawning sites, and dewatering eggs and attached fry. Phase I of the South Bay investigation was completed this year resulting in a detailed study program for the next three years. Dominant habitat types were mapped, and physical habitat and biological monitoring methods were evaluated and selected. Permanent habitat transects, water quality stations, fish sampling, gillnetting, seining, and trapping sites were established.

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188 pages

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  • Report No.: DOE/BP-362
  • Grant Number: 1983BP39830
  • DOI: 10.2172/911850 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 911850
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc880095

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  • December 1, 1984

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  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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Darling, James E.; Pajak, Paul & Wunderlich, Mary P. Lower Flathead System Fisheries Study, 1984 Annual Report., report, December 1, 1984; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc880095/: accessed September 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.