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Gary L. Curtis

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Alewives (Alosa pseudoharengus) were first reported in Lake Superior in 1954 and gradually increased in abundance in the late 1950s. In the 1960s and early 1970s, the fish were widespread in the lake but scarce. We determined the more recent abundance and distribution of alewives by cross-contour trawling in the spring in 1978–1988. Alewives were scarce lake-wide; the mean catch rate was only 23 fish per 100 h of trawling and represented a density of 0.003 kg per hectare in the area swept by the trawls. Fish of six age groups were caught in trawls in spring and gill nets in fall in 1983–1987. Total annual mortality was 64%, a high natural rate in the absence of fishing. Alewives in Lake Superior were small at the...
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We found mean target strength to be a reliable in situ predictor of fish weight, which allows direct estimation of the pelagic planktivore fish biomass from target strength measurements. Fish were collected by midwater trawling concurrent with target strength measurements (120-kHz frequency) in Lake Michigan. The mean weight of fish caught ranged from 2 to 71 g and mean target strength ranged from –54.9 to –38.0 decibels. Changes in mean target strength explained 73% of the variability in mean weight for combinations of various planktivore species, principally rainbow smelt Osrnerus mordax, bloaters Coregonus hovi, and alewives Alosa pseudoharengus. Bloaters were found to be less acoustically reflective than the...
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We monitored habitat use and movement of 27 adult shovelnose sturgeon in Pool 13 of the upper Mississippi River, Iowa-Illinois, by radio-telemetry in April through August 1988. Our objective was to determine the response of this species to unusually low water conditions in the upper Mississippi River in 1988. Most (94%) telemetry contacts were made in 3 habitat types: main channel (50%), main channel border where wing dams were present (29%), and tailwaters of Lock and Dam 12 (15%). Habitat use in spring was affected by the extreme low flows. We often found tagged shovelnose sturgeon in the main channel and tailwaters during the spring period (11 March–20 May) where water velocities were highest. This was in contrast...
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The lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) population at Stannard Rock, Michigan, an isolated offshore reef in eastern Lake Superior, was monitored each spring from 1959–79 using a permit assessment gill net fishery. This population, like nearly all of those in inshore waters, declined to low levels during the years of intense predation by the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) in the late 1950s and early 1960s. After sea lamprey control began in 1961, the abundance of native lake trout at Stannard Rock began to increase slowly in the 1960s and was limited to recruitment into the fishable stock of native fish that were juveniles during the years of high sea lamprey activity. By the early 1970s, lake trout abundance increased...
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We developed a simple linear regression model to forecast year-class contributions of lake whitefish Coregonus clupeaformis to the commercial harvest in the Apostle Islands region of Lake Superior. We indexed year-class strength from catches of yearling fish in bottom trawl samples. Recruitment of each year-class was measured by its relative abundance in the fishery at age 6. The relation between recruitment to the commercial fishery and year-class strength indices was positive and significant (r 2 = 0.67, P < 0.01). The model produced reliable estimates of recruitment to the fishery within the range of the regression. Projected recruitment of the 1983–1987 year-classes to the fishery in 1989-1993 should be sufficient...
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