Commercial Gill Netting and Its Effects on Sportfishes in Texas Reservoirs

This study was designed to compare the catch of sport and rough fishes and to determine the survival ofsport fishes captured by commercial gill nets in Texas reservoirs. Commercial fishermen were required to submit monthly reports for 1 yr (April, 1973 through March, 1974) on their rough fish harvest and on the number and species of sport fishes caught and released. The catch was recorded from monthly samples of commercial harvest on Lakes Sam Rayburn, Whitney, Somerville and B. A. Steinhagen and from quarterly samples on Lakes Livingston and Cedar Creek. Netting mortality of sport fishes was determined by holding the fish for 17 days following their capture. Data indicated commercial fishermen did not report their catch accurately. Mortality studies showed largemouth bass and crappie suffered almost total netting mortality; catfishes exhibited better survival 163-100%). Losses were small and apparently not harmful to the sport fish populations. The continuation of commercial fishing was recommended on reservoirs having high populations ofrough fishes and no striped bass.

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