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

Montana Fishery Project

Distribution, Habitats and Tributary Linkages of Small and Non-Game Fishes in the Lower Yellowstone River

October 2007 - June 2012


Participating Agencies

  • Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks
Elk Island Bluffs, Lower Yellowstone River, Montana

The Yellowstone River is the largest undammed river in the contiguous United States. Biologists have concentrated most of their efforts on the game and larger nongame species within the river, and we still lack a basic understanding of small and nongame fishes in the mainstem Yellowstone River. Two of these species, the sturgeon chub Macrhybopsis gelida and sicklefin chub M. meeki are species of special concern within Montana and potentially important prey items for the endangered pallid sturgeon. The objectives of this project are to determine the composition, distribution, abundance, and habitat requirements of native and non-game fishes in the lower Yellowstone River, quantify landscape-level linkages between tributary streams and the lower Yellowstone River using otolith microchemistry, and determine the differences in the lower Yellowstone and Missouri river fish assemblages.