Characteristics of commercially harvested channel catfish from areas of the mississippi river along illinois commercial harvest and the 15.0 in minimum length limit

Raibley, P.T.; Jahn, L.A.

Journal of Freshwater Ecology 6(4): 363-376


ISSN/ISBN: 0270-5060
Accession: 007097390

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We examined commercially harvested channel catfish from Mississippi River Pools 13, 19, 25, and an unimpounded area near Chester, Illinois [USA] to determine age, growth, fecundity, and population sizes. Most fish harvested from Pools 13 and 19 were ages 4-6, while fish from Pool 25 and Chester were mainly ages 6-8. Fish grew fastest in Pool 19, followed by those from Pool 13, Chester, and Pool 25, respectively. Several year classes were well represented in the harvest in each study area since enactment of the 15.0-in limit, thus reducing the dependency of harvests on 1 or 2 year classes. Approximately 60-70% of channel catfish were sexually mature at 15.0 in. Mean fecundity estimates were generally highest for Pool 19 fish and lowest for Pool 25 fish, ranging from 5.300 to 37,000 eggs. Eggs were produced as early as age 3, and production peaked at ages 6-8 (.gtoreq. 18.0 in long). Population estimates for legal-size fish (.gtoreq. 15.0 in) ranged from 262,000 to 477,300 in Pool 13, while estimates were considerably higher in other areas due to few tag returns.