Lost River suckers Deltistes luxatus and shortnose suckers Chasmistes brevirostris , listed as endangered in 1988 under the Endangered Species Act, have shown infrequent recruitment into adult populations in Upper Klamath Lake (NRC 2004). In an effort to understand the causes behind and provide management solutions to apparent recruitment failure, a number of studies have been conducted including several on larval and juvenile sucker habitat use. Near-shore areas in Upper Klamath Lake with emergent vegetation, especially those near the mouth of the Williamson River, were identified as important habitat for larval suckers (Cooperman and Markle 2000; Reiser et al. 2001). Terwilliger et al. (2004) characterized primary age-0 sucker habitat as near-shore areas in the southern portion of Upper Klamath Lake with gravel and cobble substrates. Reiser et al. (2001) provided some evidence that juvenile suckers use habitats with emergent vegetation, but nothing concerning the extent or timing of use.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) began investigating the importance of near-shore and off-shore habitats with and without emergent vegetation for juvenile suckers in 2000. We found substantial numbers of juvenile suckers using these habitats near the mouth of the Williamson River into late August (VanderKooi and Buelow 2003). The distribution and relative abundance of juvenile suckers showed high spatial variability throughout the summer for all species combined, Lost River suckers, and shortnose suckers (VanderKooi et al. 2006; Hendrixson et al. 2007a). Results from sampling near-shore areas in 2002 suggested juvenile sucker proximity to shoreline changes depending on the presence or absence of shoreline vegetation (VanderKooi et al. 2006), whereas in 2004 and 2005 results were equivocal (Hendrixson et al. 2007a, 2007b).
Research by USGS of juvenile suckers in Upper Klamath Lake conducted since 2000 provides a valuable long-term data set which can be used to evaluate multi-year trends in juvenile sucker relative abundance and habitat use. Data on the relative abundance of juvenile suckers and their habitat use patterns will provide valuable information to guide restoration and management decisions in the Upper Klamath Basin. Information on juvenile sucker catch rates may also be valuable for evaluating year class success, estimating early life stage survival rates, and predicting upper bounds of future recruitment to adult spawning populations.
We continued sampling juvenile suckers in 2006 as part of an effort to develop bioenergetics models for juvenile Lost River and shortnose suckers. This study required us to collect fish to determine growth rates and energy content of juvenile suckers. We followed the sampling protocols and methods described by Hendrixson et al. (2007b) to maintain continuity and facilitate comparisons with data collected in recent years, but sampled at a reduced level of effort compared to previous years (approximately one-third) due to limited funding. Here we present a summary of catch data collected in 2006. Bioenergetics models will be reported separately
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