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Spawning movements of humpback whitefish in interior Alaska rivers

Dupuis, Aaron W., Sutton, Trent M.
Ecology of freshwater fish 2014 v.23 no.3 pp. 295-304
Coregonus, boats, fish, habitats, radio transmitters, rivers, spawning, surveys, Alaska
This study was conducted to describe the spawning movements and identify spawning areas for humpback whitefish Coregonus pidschian in the Minto Flats–Chatanika River complex, Alaska, during 2008 and 2009. Radio transmitters were surgically implanted in humpback whitefish in 2008 (N = 60) and 2009 (N = 100), and fish positions were determined through a combination of boat and aerial surveys and fixed receiving stations. Two spawning areas were identified: one in the Chatanika River downstream of the Elliot Highway Bridge and the other in the Tanana River near Fairbanks. Humpback whitefish dispersed from the wetland complex of Minto Flats in June, moved upstream through late August, arrived at the spawning areas in early September and began moving downstream in early October. In 2009, spatially segregated movements were observed when approximately 40% of the radio‐tagged humpback whitefish moved to the Tanana River, suggesting that humpback whitefish in Minto Flats are comprised of mixed spawning stocks. These study results provide a complete account of humpback whitefish movements and their associated spawning habitats, which will allow for better‐informed management strategies.