Great Basin Naturalist


We investigated ecology of flannelmouth sucker (Catostomus latipinnis) from 1992 to 1997 in the 26-km Lee's Ferry reach of the Colorado River immediately below Glen Canyon Dam, Arizona. We captured by electrofishing a total of 212 fish and recaptured 52 previously tagged by others. Flannelmouth sucker were captured throughout the tailwater but tended to aggregate about 5 km of the dam, possibly reflecting blockage of historic migration routes. Catch per hour of electrofishing did not differ among years but was greater from November to February than other periods, suggesting seasonal movements of flannelmouth sucker into the tailwater. Mean lengths and weights of fish did not differ among years or seasons. Length frequency analyses also indicate there were no significant yearly trends in proportion of catch within size classes of fish. Mean condition differed only among seasons and was greatest in February, lowest in August, coinciding respectively with pre- and post-spawning periods of flannelmouth sucker in a tributary just downstream from Lee's Ferry. Recaptured fish migrated from initial tagging locations 1.4–231 km downstream from Lee's Ferry. Fifty-nine percent of recaptured fish with known initial tagging locations increased in length, and fish tagged initially as subadults or adults, respectively, grew an average of 45.9 mm and 5.5 mm per year.