A Study Of Fish Movements From The Okefenokee Swamp Into The Suwannee River

The construction of a dike dividing the Okefenokee Swamp and the Suwannee River in 1960 and the phenomenal poundage of bowfin found in the river prompted an investigation to determine what fish were entering the river by passing over the dike from the swamp. Twenty thousand nine hundred and forty-six fish weighing 18,590.3 pounds were calculated to have moved over the spillway from February 20, 1969 to June 26, 1970. Bowfin comprised seventy-nine percent by weight of the fish and yellow bullhead were the most numerous species to come over. Ninety percent of the movement occurred at night. Movement was related to water temperature, depth of discharge, and spawning activity and is reported for each major species. The study establishes that the swamp does influence the river fishery and that the high bowfin population was, in part, due to their spilling over the dike. Management implications are discussed.

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