Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 99, Issue 2–3, pp 249–263 | Cite as

Fishway approach behaviour and passage of three redhorse species (Moxostoma anisurum, M. carinatum, and M. macrolepidotum) in the Richelieu River, Quebec

  • Charles Hatry
  • Jason D. Thiem
  • Daniel Hatin
  • Pierre Dumont
  • Karen E. Smokorowski
  • Steven J. Cooke


Fishways are increasingly constructed to maintain longitudinal connectivity for fish in numerous river systems where migrations are interrupted by anthropogenic barriers, although there is a paucity of information on the biological effectiveness of fishways for most species. We evaluated fishway approach behaviour, and quantified attraction and passage efficiency of three catostomid species (silver redhorse Moxostoma anisurum, river redhorse M. carinatum and shorthead redhorse M. macrolepidotum) that undertake annual obligate spawning migrations through the Vianney-Legendre vertical slot fishway at the St. Ours Dam, in the Richelieu River, Quebec, Canada. Use of PIT tagging alone enabled quantification of attraction and passage efficiency and these were; 51, 17 and 50 % for attraction efficiency and passage efficiencies were 88, 50, and 69 % for silver, river, and shorthead redhorse, respectively. Silver redhorse had significantly shorter entrance delay and passage duration times than shorthead redhorse. Attraction efficiency was different among release locations for silver redhorse, and passage efficiency increased with size for shorthead redhorse. For all species, failure to ascend the fishway was most likely to occur before the second turning basin (before the 32 m mark) in the fishway (84 % of failures). Silver redhorse had significantly lower passage failure rates than river and shorthead redhorse. Activity patterns in the three species during fishway passage were different; crepuscular activity patterns were observed in shorthead and river redhorse, whereas silver redhorse activity peaked between 23:00 and 02:00 then decreased through the remainder of the day. To further evaluate fishway approach behaviour we fitted an additional sample of each species with external radio tags, although nearly all radio tagged individuals (n = 119) rapidly moved downstream upon release immediately post-tagging. Subsequently, our results were confounded by the behavioural impairments associated with external radio tagging and fallback. These results demonstrate the value of multispecies fishway evaluations and highlight the variation among individual species fishway performance within a single genus.


Fishway Redhorse Biotelemetry Attraction and passage efficiency Moxostoma 



Guillaume Lemieux, Florent Archambault, Sylvain Desloges, Keith Stamplecoskie, Robert Lennox, Lauren Stoot and Nicholas Burnett provided expert field assistance. Parks Canada (André Brunelle, Jean Larochelle and Guy Noël) provided site access and logistic support. Project funding was provided by an NSERC (National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) HydroNet Strategic Network Grant, NSERC RTI Grant, Natural Resources Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Canadian Wildlife Federation. Significant financial and in kind contributions were also provided by the Quebec MNRF. Cooke was supported by the Canada Research Chair program, and Hatry was supported by an NSERC-CGSM (Alexander Graham Bell) scholarship, an Ontario graduate scholarship (OGS) as well as additional graduate scholarships from Carleton University. This project was conducted in accordance with the guidelines of the Canadian Council on Animal Care administered by the Carleton University Animal Care Committee (B10-12). Comments from peer review improved this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles Hatry
    • 1
  • Jason D. Thiem
    • 1
    • 5
  • Daniel Hatin
    • 2
  • Pierre Dumont
    • 2
  • Karen E. Smokorowski
    • 3
  • Steven J. Cooke
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Laboratory, Department of BiologyCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Ministère des Ressources Naturelles et de la FauneLongueuilCanada
  3. 3.Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Great Lakes Laboratory for Fisheries and Aquatic SciencesSault Ste. MarieCanada
  4. 4.Institute of Environmental ScienceCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  5. 5.Department of Primary IndustriesNarrandera Fisheries CentreNarranderaAustralia

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