• barrier;
  • Cyprinidae;
  • dispersal;
  • fish movement;
  • stream

1. The effects of riffles as barriers to movement of stream fish was investigated in a set of eight large outdoor artificial streams. Pools were 183 cm in diameter and 45 cm deep; riffles were 183 cm long and 43 cm wide. Rates of movement of three species of minnows (Cyprinidae) (Campostoma anomalum, Cyprinella venusta and Notropis boops) among pools were measured at four riffle current velocities (0, 15, 30 and 45 cm s–1), three thalweg depths (10, 50 and 100 mm), two riffle lengths (183 and 549 cm), and with and without the threat of predation. Visual observation and video cameras were used to quantify movement rate.

2. Mean movement rate (percentage of fish crossing a riffle each 30 min) was 18.1% at 0 cm s–1 and only 1.8 at 45 cm s–1. Movement rate was 7.2% with no predators present and 20.2% with caged predators in pools. Notropis boops had a lower rate of movement than C. venusta or C. anomalum across all trials. The mean group size (number of individuals crossing a riffle together) was 1.2 fish overall, indicating most movement was by individuals and not groups. Group size was significantly greater only with shallow riffles or under the threat of predation.

3. Overall biotic and abiotic factors in these artificial streams do influence movement rates and may affect movement among pools in natural streams.