An Evaluation of Trout Passage through Six Highway Culverts in Montana

Publication Date



culverts, East Gallatin River, fish passage, rainbow trout, regression, spawning, St.Regis River, swimming speeds, trapping, trout, upstream, upstream passage, water depth, water velocity, Yellowstone River, Brown trout, salmo trutta

Journal or Book Title

North American Journal of Fisheries Management


Combinations of water velocity and passage length in highway culverts were evaluated to determine conditions that enabled or prevented the passage of nonanadromous rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss, brown trout, Salmo trutta, cutthroat trout O. clarki, and brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis. Fish passage through six culverts 45-93 m long was determined by trapping and electrofishing. Water velocities were measured 5 cm above the bottom (bottom velocity) and at 0.6 of the water depth at intervals between rest sites throughout the lengths of the culverts. Nonlinear regression lines specific to species and state of sexual maturity were fit to the combinations of mean bottom velocity and passage length representing the most strenuous conditions that allowed the upstream passage of trout. Because of the similarity of the strenuous passage relations among species, the spawning rainbow trout relation could be used as the general criterion for passage of the trout studied. This relation indicated that fish could swim distances of 10, 30, 50, 70, and 90 m with mean bottom velocities up to 0.96, 0.80, 0.74, 0.70, and 0.67 m/s, respectively.





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