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Welcome to the technical sessions schedule for the 2015 SEAFWA Annual Meeting.

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Tuesday, November 3 • 3:20pm - 3:40pm
Largemouth Bass Fishery Characteristics and Relationships with Hydrology in the Ouachita River, Arkansas

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Kyler B. Hecke, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff; Eric L. Brinkman, Brett A. Timmons -Arkansas Game and Fish Commission; Michael A. Eggleton, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

During 2008-2010, two different studies were used to assess the previously unstudied largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) fishery in the Felsenthal Reservoir region of the lower Ouachita River, Arkansas. Size structure measures were acceptable for largemouth bass (PSD = 59, PSDP = 21), and the population exhibited good condition (mean Wr = 105, range 70-141). von Bertalanffy growth model parameters were L∞ = 513 mm, K = 0.324 and to = -0.314; catch-curve analysis indicated 51% total annual mortality. Based on an earlier study in the Arkansas River, we hypothesized that increased river flows might negatively affect largemouth bass growth. To test this hypothesis, back-calculated growth increments were determined for largemouth bass (n = 460), and compared across three flow categories derived from historical data for the Ouachita River. Mean June-October (i.e., corresponding with the largemouth bass growing season) flows from individual years were categorized as “high-flow”, “low-flow”, and “average-flow” when values exceeded the 75th percentile, were less than the 25th percentile, or between the 25th and 75th percentiles, respectively. Two-way factorial ANOVA analyses using back-calculated age and flow classifications as main effects indicated that largemouth bass growth differed (P = 0.0231) across the hydrologic regimes. Pairwise post-hoc least-squares means test comparing individual back-calculated ages indicated reduced bass growth during high-flow years, with the effect most pronounced for the age 2-4 cohorts. Results suggested that high-flow periods typically beneficial to fishes in large river-floodplain systems may be dampened or non-existent in more highly regulated river systems such as the lower Ouachita River. Knowledge of fish growth-hydrology relationships may be important in the future in light of predicted effects of climate change, which include increased frequencies of hydrologic extremes.

Tuesday November 3, 2015 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST

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