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

Kitterman, C.L., and P.W. Bettoli. 2011. Survival of saugers angled in the lower Tennessee River. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 31:567-573.


An intense winter fishery for sauger Sander canadensis exists in the lower Tennessee River and the objective of this study was to estimate the survival of angled saugers. In February 2008 and January-March 2009, 81 angled saugers (72 alive plus 9 euthanized) were affixed with ultrasonic tags. The movements (or lack thereof) by saugers released alive were compared to those of euthanized fish to assess survival. Sixty-eight percent of tagged saugers that were released alive exhibited maximum daily movements that exceeded the greatest movement of any euthanized fish (0.5 km/d) and those fish were subsequently classified as survivors. Upstream movements by several euthanized fish indicated that their carcasses were ingested by piscivorous scavengers. In logistic models, the probability of mortality was significantly and inversely related to total length, but mortality was not related to capture depth, water temperature, handling time or ascent rate. In 2 x 2 contingency tables, the fate of released saugers was not associated with either the presence or absence of bleeding from the hooking wound or whether or not fish displayed gastric distension. Most released fish survived despite the fact that gastric distension was observed in 72% of angled saugers.