Walleye Spawning, Movements, and Habitat Usage in Tombigbee River Drainages

A total of 13 radio-tagged walleyes (Stizostedion vitreum vitreum) were monitored from spring through summer in 1986 and 1987 in Luxapalila Creek near Columbus, Mississippi. Movements indicated pre-spawning aggregation in the lower Luxapalila Creek during January and February, upstream spawning March through early April, and widely varying downstream post-spawning movements. Seasonally high water discharges in March were cues for upstream movements to pool areas below spawning sites at shallow <1.5 m) gravel riffles. High discharges restricted spawning and possibly reproductive success. Three groups of walleyes spawned in Luxapalila Creek: residents of the upper stream, of the Luxapalila Park area, and of the Tennessee-Tombigbee River. Lower Luxapalila Creek was an important summer holding area. Little nighttime feeding occurred during summer high water temperatures (28°-31°C). Walleyes preferred water with high dissolved oxygen and were associated with wooded structure during 73% of daytime observations. Proposed alteration of Luxapalila Creek for flood control includes removal of wooded structure, dredging of gravel spawning areas, and construction of an inflatable dam that could impede the spawning movements of walleyes as well as other species.

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ID
29067