Behaviour and passage performance of Northern pike, walleyes, and white suckers in an experimental raceway


S J. Peake

Publication Date



sucker, walleye, white suckers, adult, raceway, water velocity, tank, fish length, pool, entrance, culverts, fish passage, models

Journal or Book Title

North American Journal of Fisheries Management


The willingness and ability of wild adult northern pike (Esox lucius), walleyes (Sandervitreus), and white suckers (Catostomus commersonii) to ascend a 25- or 50-m experimentalraceway against various water velocities (35-120 cm/s at 8 cm from the bottom) was measured.The probability that a fish of any given species would enter the raceway from its holding tank wassignificantly correlated with fork length, water temperature, and tank volume but was notcorrelated with water velocity. On average, 62.6% of northern pike, 45.0% of walleyes, and 44.2%of white suckers entered volitionally. For those fish that entered, the probability that at least onecomplete ascent would occur during the exposure period was not dependent on fish length, watertemperature, raceway length, duration of the exposure period, time in captivity, or water velocity.On average, 74.4% of northern pike, 76.4% of walleyes, and 77.3% of white suckers that enteredthe raceway made at least one complete ascent. For northern pike and walleyes, the proportionof successful ascents at the highest water velocity tested (120 cm/s) was significantly lower thanthe proportions observed at the lower velocities. No significant differences were found amongascent proportions for white suckers. Fish in general may be more inclined to enter a culvert if thepool downstream of the entrance is relatively small. Culverts less than 50 m long should allowthese species to pass as long as water velocities near the bottom do not exceed 100 cm/s. Fishpassage models based on published data from forced performance trials predicted lowermaximum allowable water speeds, which adds to a growing body of work that indicates theunsuitability of these tests for use in setting velocity criteria in culverts and fishways.





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