Swimming performance of sauger (Sander canadensis) in relation to fish passage


David R. Dockery, Thomas E. McMahon, Kevin M. Kappenman, Matthew Blank


Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences


A lack of information on the swimming abilities of sauger (Sander canadensis), a highly migratory species particularly sensitive to habitat fragmentation, may inhibit the design of effective passage structures for this species. Passage success, maximum ascent distances, and maximum sprint velocities of sauger were estimated in an open-channel flume over a range of water velocities (51, 78, and 92 cm.s(-1)) and temperatures (10.0, 14.3, and 18.3 degrees C) to assess swimming performance. Passage success was high (91%) over all test velocities, as was the maximum instantaneous burst velocity (219 cm.s(-1)). Water temperature and body size had little effect on swimming performance. Sauger transitioned from steady, sustained swimming to unsteady, burst-glide, or steady burst swimming at 97 cm.s(-1). Sauger were capable of sustained sprints of 124 cm.s(-1) over 15 s duration in a swim chamber. Results suggest passage structures with water velocities less than 97 cm.s(-1) should provide high probability of successful passage of adult sauger, whereas structures with water velocities exceeding 219 cm.s(-1) may be impassable.



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