Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Oklahoma
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Oklahoma Project

Assessing the spawning movement and habitat needs of riverine Neosho smallmouth bass

January 2015 - December 2019


Participating Agencies

  • Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
Smallmouth Bass nesting locations within a stream reach.

Limited information is available about the movements of riverine Smallmouth Bass (SMB) in landscapes with prevalent river-reservoir interfaces. This is especially problematic for the Neosho subspecies of SMB given the distribution covers an interwoven landscape of rivers and reservoirs. Our research focuses on the movement and habitat use of the Neosho SMB with an emphasis on the reproductive and juvenile development periods. We are using radio telemetry to quantify movements and habitat use of adult and juvenile SMB in streams that vary in size, hydrology, and proximity to impoundments in the Ozark Highlands. We are conducting snorkel surveys on a diverse subset of stream reaches throughout the range of the Neosho SMB to understand the multi-scale habitat features and environmental conditions that influence SMB nest and age-0 SMB densities in Ozark streams. Lastly, we are quantifying days since hatch of young-of-year SMB via otoliths to determine the environmental relationships among hydrologic factors, hatch date, and daily growth. This project is funded by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. Project results will identify areas across the landscape that contribute substantially to reproduction and recruitment. Identifying the environmental conditions that support high yield will aid decision-based protective regulations or enhancements if desired by the management agencies.