Commercial and Sport Fishing on Guntersville Lake During the Period of March 15-June 13, 1960

A census of sport and commercial fishermen was conducted on Guntersville Lake from March 15 through June 13, 1960. The objectives were to determine species composition of the catches, the types and extent of sport and commercial fishing, the interrelationship of sport and commercial fishing and the problems of each. The census included data on incomplete fishing trips of sport fishermen and complete fishing trips of commercial fishermen. Crappie were the fishing choice of 58 percent of the 1,654 sport fishermen and made up 69 percent of the catch by weight. An average of 0.4 pounds of fish per hour were caught by 1,315 boat fishermen while 339 bank fishermen caught an average of 0.2 pounds of fish per hour. Natural bait was used by 75 percent of the fishing parties, artificial bait was used by 10 percent of the fishing parties and both types of bait were used by 15 percent of the fishing parties. Only an average of 42 sport fishermen per day fished Guntersville Lake. Fifty-nine commercial fishermen caught 3,138 pounds of fish in nets and on lines. Buffalo and carp made up 79 percent of the pounds of fish taken with nets. Catfish made up 85 percent of the pounds of fish taken on lines. Less than one percent of the catch, by weight, taken with each type of commercial fishing gear was game fish. There appeared to be no conflict between the sport and commercial fishermen in Guntersville Lake. The catch of game fish in nets during the period when crappie were readily caught by sport fishermen indicated that legal mesh nets were not capable of taking a significant number of game fish.

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