Title

Raystown Lake Channel Catfish Spawning Study (2013-14)

Item Type

Poster

Location

Elaine Langone Center, Terrace Room

Session

Poster Presentations

Start Date

21-11-2014 8:00 PM

End Date

21-11-2014 10:00 PM

Description

During the summers of 2013 and 2014, Juniata College and Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) partnered to perform Channel Catfish, Ictalurus punctatus, spawning studies on Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. Past fingerling stocking programs in Pennsylvania have been unsuccessful in sustaining Channel Catfish populations, which has been attributed to an absence of preferred spawning microhabitats. Therefore, PFBC devised a protocol that relies on the introduction of man-made spawning structures, catfish boxes, designed to replicate optimal nesting sites. They believe the boxes could become an important management tool to enhance young-of-the-year (YOY) survivorship in lakes lacking suitable nesting habitats. To test this theory, catfish boxes were deployed into Raystown Lake and checked for occupancy from May to August of 2013, with the goal of determining if Channel Catfish in Raystown Lake would actively utilize these artificial man-made structures. Observations from 2013 found evidence of continuous spawning for six straight weeks, confirming that the boxes provide Channel Catfish with acceptable reproductive and grow-out microhabitats in this environment. Following the 2013 study, researchers questioned fry survival rate after they leave the catfish boxes due to the lack of cover in which fry could hide. A 2014 study was designed to test if adult Channel Catfish would selectively choose boxes that provided protective cover for fry once leaving the artificial structure. Catfish boxes were again deployed into Raystown Lake and checked for occupancy from May-July of 2014. This study differed in that boxes were place near different structure types. Observations from 2014 suggested that Channel Catfish appeared to prefer catfish boxes with stone structure on top as documented by higher occupancy rates than in boxes with no cover and boxes near submerged woody debris. We speculate this observation occurred because fry, upon leaving the catfish box, could hid e in the cervices created by the stone pile to avoid predation. As a result, we were able to provide PFBC with information on how to improve the placement of catfish boxes for future catfish restoration and management projects across the state.

Language

eng

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Nov 21st, 8:00 PM Nov 21st, 10:00 PM

Raystown Lake Channel Catfish Spawning Study (2013-14)

Elaine Langone Center, Terrace Room

During the summers of 2013 and 2014, Juniata College and Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) partnered to perform Channel Catfish, Ictalurus punctatus, spawning studies on Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. Past fingerling stocking programs in Pennsylvania have been unsuccessful in sustaining Channel Catfish populations, which has been attributed to an absence of preferred spawning microhabitats. Therefore, PFBC devised a protocol that relies on the introduction of man-made spawning structures, catfish boxes, designed to replicate optimal nesting sites. They believe the boxes could become an important management tool to enhance young-of-the-year (YOY) survivorship in lakes lacking suitable nesting habitats. To test this theory, catfish boxes were deployed into Raystown Lake and checked for occupancy from May to August of 2013, with the goal of determining if Channel Catfish in Raystown Lake would actively utilize these artificial man-made structures. Observations from 2013 found evidence of continuous spawning for six straight weeks, confirming that the boxes provide Channel Catfish with acceptable reproductive and grow-out microhabitats in this environment. Following the 2013 study, researchers questioned fry survival rate after they leave the catfish boxes due to the lack of cover in which fry could hide. A 2014 study was designed to test if adult Channel Catfish would selectively choose boxes that provided protective cover for fry once leaving the artificial structure. Catfish boxes were again deployed into Raystown Lake and checked for occupancy from May-July of 2014. This study differed in that boxes were place near different structure types. Observations from 2014 suggested that Channel Catfish appeared to prefer catfish boxes with stone structure on top as documented by higher occupancy rates than in boxes with no cover and boxes near submerged woody debris. We speculate this observation occurred because fry, upon leaving the catfish box, could hid e in the cervices created by the stone pile to avoid predation. As a result, we were able to provide PFBC with information on how to improve the placement of catfish boxes for future catfish restoration and management projects across the state.