Distribution, Movement, and Habitat Preference of Saugeye in Thunderbird Reservoir, Oklahoma1

Ultrasonic transmitters were surgically implanted in a total of 30 saugeye (Stizostedion vitreum vitreum x S. canadense) in 1987 and 1988. Horizontal distribution, movement, distance from shore, depth, and habitat were determined during tracking of each fish. Saugeye were located ≤65 m from shore most frequently during all seasons except summer. Saugeye preferred open shore areas, and frequented submerged timber only during fall 1988 and winter 1989 when prey items may have been limited. Saugeye preferred depths of 0-3 m except in summer 1988 and summer and fall 1989, when no depth preference was evident. Saugeye moved to a cove near the dam during late winter and early spring, which appeared to be a prespawning activity. Approximately 33% of tagged saugeye were not located in the lake during the 1988 spawning period, and 1989 tracking revealed upstream spawning movement in the Little River. Movement of saugeye decreased considerably during the summer, when temperatures approached reportedly lethal levels (≥28 C).

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