Inter-river Migration of Striped Bass in Western Kentucky

Fifteen radio-tagged striped bass (Morone saxatilis) were tracked to determine seasonal, inter-river distribution patterns, and habitat use in the vicinity of the Ohio, Tennessee, Cumberland, and Mississippi rivers from November 1992 to November 1993. All 4 river systems were used by study fish during 1 or more seasons. Two fish inhabited only 1 river during the entire survey, while 13 fish used up to 3 river systems. Inter-river movement occurred primarily during November-December (36%) and April-May (58%), which coincided with highest movement periods. Striped bass distribution was skewed toward tailwaters and study segments immediately downstream. General habitats annually included channel borders (47%), tailwaters (37%), and heated discharges (7%); however, specific habitats included open bottom substrates (29%), tailwater boils (28%), and woody debris and trees (24%). Availability of suitable summer habitat (i.e., tailwaters) was considered a major limiting factor to the expansion of this striped bass fishery.

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