Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Distribution and Dispersal of Fishes
in the Red River Basin
The primary objective of this survey was to provide an accounting of all records
of fish species collected from the Red River of the North (Red River) in the
United States that have been reported in the published literature. From these
records we were able to determine fish distribution records in the Red River
and in 26 major tributaries in the Red River basin. Even with a long history
of surveys to document fish species occurrence in the Red River basin, there
has not been a detailed treatment of fish distributions in streams in the basin.
Details of collection sites and dates of collection of fishes in the Red River
basin have not been presented in past reports, and will be useful for assessing
any changes in fish distributions, and for clarifying questions about past records.
Further, there is disagreement on the number of fish species in the Red River
basin. Crossman and McAllister (1986) listed 75 fish species for the Red River
drainage (portions in Canada and the United States); 69 species were listed
for the Red River in the United States. Underhill (1989) listed 80 species for
the Red River drainage in the United States. The data presented in this report
will provide the basis to permit various statistical analyses to ascertain environmental
variables that are important in influencing fish community assemblages in streams
of the Red River drainage. These analyses will be included in the Ph.D. thesis
of Todd Koel, graduate student in the Zoology Department, NDSU.
A second objective of this project was to determine the current status of
the gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum) in the James River and of the
white bass (Morone chrysops) in the Sheyenne River in North Dakota.
We collected fishes in 1993 in two locations in the James River (Ludden and
Lamoure) where Gene VanEeckhout collected the gizzard shad in 1988 (Duerre
1989), and in the Sheyenne River in 1993 and 1994 from locations near Valley
City to its mouth.
We found no gizzard shad or white bass in these samples, and have relied
on sampling conducted by other investigators to document the occurrence of
these two species. Results of the field sampling, as well as data collected
by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department are presented in Appendix A.
To summarize the data available: There have been no records of the gizzard
shad in the James River since a few adults and young-of-the-year were collected
near Lamoure in 1988 by Gene VanEeckhout (Duerre 1989, and Power 1995). White
bass continue to be reported in the Sheyenne River and the Red River, but
they apparently have been unable to establish large populations in the Red
River basin since they were first reported in the Sheyenne River in 1964 from
white bass introduced into Lake Ashtabula in 1953. The well established population
of white bass in Lake Ashtabula reservoir on the Sheyenne River serves as
a source for white bass recorded in the Sheyenne River and adjacent reaches
of the Red River.
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Next Section -- Results - Fishes in The Red River
of the North Basin