Prolonged Swimming Performance of Northern Squawfish

Publication Date



northern squawfish, squawfish, swimming, swimming performance, water velocity, fatigue, juvenile, bypass, Columbia River

Journal or Book Title

Transactions of the American Fisheries Society


We determined the prolonged swimming performance of two size-classes of northern squawfish Ptychocheilus oregonensis at 12 and 18°C. The percentage of fish fatigued was positively related to water velocity and best described by an exponential model. At 12°C, the velocity at which 50% of the fish fatigued (FV50) was estimated to be 2.91 fork lengths per second (FL/s; 100 cm/s) for medium-sized fish (30-39 cm) and 2.45 FL/s (104 cm/s) for large fish (40-49 cm). At 18°C, estimated FV50 was 3.12 FL/s (107 cm/s) for medium fish and 2.65 FL/s (112 cm/s) for large fish. Rate of change in percent fatigue was affected by fish size and water temperature. Large fish fatigued at a higher rate than medium-sized fish; all fish fatigued faster at 12 than at 18°C. The mean times to fatigue at velocities of 102-115 cm/s ranged from 14 to 28 min and were not affected by fish size or water temperature. Our results indicate that water velocities from 100 to 130 cm/s may exclude or reduce predation by northern squawfish around juvenile salmonid bypass outfalls at Columbia River dams, at least during certain times of the year. We recommend that construction or modification of juvenile salmonid bypass facilities place the outfall in an area of high water velocity and distant from eddies, submerged cover, and littoral areas.







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