Species Composition, Catch Rates, And Impact Of A Commercial Fishery On Striped Bass In Watts Bar And Chickamauga Reservoirs, Tennessee

Between March and October 1977, methods of local commercial fishermen were simulated to evaluate species composition, catch rates, and potential impact of the commercial fishery on striped bass (Morone saxatilis) in 2 Tennessee River mainstream impoundments. Estimated total commercial harvest rates during the sampling period were 26.6 kg/ ha and 23.1 kg/ ha in Watts Bar and Chickamauga Reservoirs. Because commercial fishing was concentrated in tailwater regions of both reservoirs, experimental catch rates and high estimated commercial harvest rates were probably not representative throughout each reservoir. Low catch rates of striped bass and other game fishes suggested that commercial netting had no negative influence on these species. It does appear, however, that the commercial fishery may be influencing rough fish species composition. Standing crops of buffalofish (fetiohus spp.) have declined in recent years while carp (C.I'prinus carpio) biomass h.as increased.

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