During the 1960s and 1990s, the California Department of Fish and Game tagged 8,634 barred sand bass in southern California, and 972 fish (11%) were recaptured. Tag returns suggest barred sand bass are transient aggregate spawners that form spawning aggregations consisting of both resident and migrant individuals. Spawning residency at a historic spawning location was estimated by the frequency of returns over time; most same-year returns (82%, n = 141) were recaptured within a 7 to 35-day period. The maximum recapture distance was 92 km. The average (± SD) non-spawning season recapture distance from peak spawning season tagging locations was 13 ± 8 km, and movement was generally northward. A positive relationship existed between fish size (TL) and migration distance to non-spawning season recapture locations. Fish tagged at a presumed non-spawning season residence were primarily recaptured south of the tagging location during peak and late spawning season; the average migration distance was 17 ± 15 km. Recaptures in subsequent years showed a high degree of spawning (80%, n = 135) and non-spawning (73%, n = 11) site fidelity. This is the first documentation of the spawning-related movements of barred sand bass and will be important for informing management decisions regarding this popular sport fish.
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Vol. 109 • No. 3