Potential impacts of altering discharge pattern from Hauser Dam, Missouri River, on young-of-the-year brown trout and rainbow trout

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


Daily flow fluctuations would occur in the Missouri River between Hauser Dam and Holter Reservoir if Hauser Dam were converted to a hydroelectric peaking facility. To address potential impacts of fluctuating flows on free-swimming young-of-the-year (YOY) brown trout (Salmo trutta) and rainbow trout (S. gairdneri) emergence, growth, abundance, distribtion, movement, and habitat use were investigated. During reduced-flow tests stranding, isolation, displacement, and habitat changes were evaluated. Hydraulic modeling was used to predict changes in the quantity of usable habitat at different discharges. Recruitment from a tributary into the river was also monitored. Field data were collected between April 1982 and November 1983. Young-of-the-year brown trout were first observed in early April while YOY rainbow trout were first found in mid-June. Both species used relatively shallow, low-velocity water near shore where cover was abundant. Reduced-flow tests in August of each year revealed little stranding or isolation, and YOY trout were not permanently displaced from temporarily dewatered habitat. Hydraulic modeling predicted an increase in the quantity of habitat as discharge decreased, but field observations indicated a reduction in habitat quality. The tributary was found to be a relatively important source of recruitment to the river rainbow trout fishery but rather unimportant to the river brown trout fishery.




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