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

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Monday, November 2 • 3:20pm - 3:40pm
Spotted Bass Population Structure and Diet in Wadeable and Non-wadeable Streams Draining the Lake Pontchartrain Basin

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J. Brian Alford, University of Tennessee; Brian Heimann, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

Spotted Bass (Micropterus punctulatus) provide a popular recreational fishery resource in Southeastern U.S. free-flowing river basins. They can be caught by anglers in wadeable (< 1 m deep) headwater streams or in non-wadeable portions of rivers. Our study compared Spotted Bass population structure from free-flowing wadeable (N = 154 from 21 sites) and non-wadeable (N = 435 from 32 sites) streams in the Lake Pontchartrain Basin of Mississippi and Louisiana to determine if these fisheries should be managed separately due to differences in food resources, growth, recruitment, and mortality rates. Spotted Bass were sampled during April-November 2009-2012 and were captured by hook-and-line angling, boat-mounted electrofishing, and seines. Size structure was similar between stream types and suggested slow-growing populations with few quality-sized fish (PSS-Q ≤ 24). Relative weight was higher for non-wadeable stream fish (mean Wr = 91) than wadeable stream fish (mean Wr = 85). Maximum theoretical size was greater for wadeable stream fish (Linf = 386 mm TL) than non-wadeable stream fish (Linf = 349 mm TL), but von Bertalanffy growth trajectories were very similar. Total annual mortality (A) calculated from weighted catch curves was 45% and 43% for non-wadeable and wadeable stream populations, respectively. Equilibrium yield models suggested that, for non-wadeable streams only, a maximum size limit of 305-331 mm TL would allow for greater yield-per-recruit at the current level of presumed exploitation (µ = 20%) and conditional natural mortality (cm = 0.25-0.45). Yield-per-recruit in wadeable streams would decline by 10% under the same scenarios.

Monday November 2, 2015 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST
Ballroom Salon A

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