Growth and Food Habits of Young of Year Walleye X Sauger Hybrids in Cherokee Reservoir, Tennessee

In May 1982, 31,600 sauger (Stizostedion canadense) male x walleye (S. vitreum) female hybrids and 17,200 fingerlings from the reciprocal cross were stocked into Cherokee Reservoir, Tennessee, in an attempt to reestablish a fishery for large percids where the 2 parental species have been extirpated. Of the 217 fish that were recaptured, 184 (85%) contained food. Gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum) and threadfin shad (D. petenense) were the primary prey species and were selected over other forage species. Prey/predator length ratios for Stizostedion hybrids and shad averaged approximately 0.3 over the range of lengths examined. Stizostedion hybrids grew rapidly, attaining a mean total length (N =48) of 30.5 cm by April 1983. This was better first-year growth than reported in other studies. These encouraging results supported continuation of this new stocking program and suggested that the Stizostedion hybrid may be a valuable management tool for put-grow-take fisheries in warm eutrophic impoundments.

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