Experimental Use of the Haul Seine for Rough Fish Removal in Four Tennessee Impoundments

Four Tennessee impoundments, namely; Melton Hill Reservoir on the Clinch River, Watts Bar and Chickamauga reservoirs on the Tennessee River, and Douglas Lake on the French Broad River, were experimentally fished with an 1,800 yard haul seine from September 17 through December 11, 1963. Objectives of the experiment are as follows: To determine the effect of the haul seine in taking valuable market fish and other non-game fish; to determine its effect on game fish as to mortality and catchability, and to explore its possibilities as a sampling method for reservoir fish populations. A crew of seven men operated the gear and a fisheries biologist was present during the operation. The haul seine yielded 154,226 pounds of rough fish and 9,991 game fish by number, during the three months of the operation, which consisted of 54 days of actual fishing and 53 separate hauls. Four hundred and thirty-one (431) hours of operation or 3,017 man-hours were employed in this winter phase of the experiment. The original investment was valued at $14,960. Returns netted approximately $1,868 per monthl at an operational cost of about $4,160 per month, leaving a monthly deficit of $2,292. The average catch per 1,000 yards of seine netted approximately 1,617 pounds of rough fish and 105 game fish by number. The average haul yielded 2,909 pounds of rough fish and 188 game fish by number. Harvest was greatest when the reservoir was stable or rising, and decreased when the reservoir was dropping. Stomach analysis revealed that catfish, large drum, and redear sunfish were utilizing the Asiatic clam, Corbicula fluminea, a recent arrival in Tennessee waters. Results of the haul seine experiment demonstrated that this gear could be used accurately to sample shoreline fish populations and to locate winter concentrations of certain game fish as well as rough fish. One 400-yard haul on Douglas Reservoir yielded 382 game fish weighing approximately 423 pounds and 100 pounds of rough fish. Finding concentrations of marketable rough fish in locations suitable for seining and a market for gizzard shad and other potential commercial fish such as small drum, are the main factors affecting the commercial success of the haul seine.

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