Age and Growth, Food Habits, and Forage Value of the Alewife in Watauga Reservoir, Tennessee

In 1976, the alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) was stocked in Watauga Reservoir, Tennessee, by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), in an attempt to strengthen the forage base. To assess ecological impacts of the introduction, both age and growth and food habits of alewives were evaluated along with food habits of adult game fishes. The alewife population was composed of 3 age classes (0+, 1+, and 2+). Average back-calculated lengths were 70 mm at annulus I and 103mm at annulus II. No significant differences between sexes were found with back-calculated lengths or with the length-weight relationship (P = 0.05). Alewives fed primarily on cladocerans, copepods, and crustacean eggs in both littoral and limnetic regions. Only one alewife had fish in its stomach. Alewives contributed to the diets of walleye (Stizostedion vitreum), smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieui), white and black crappie (Pomoxis spp.), rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri), and Ohrid trout (Salmo letnica). Only in largemouth bass, were no identifiable alewives found, though unidentified clupeids (alewives and/or gizzard shad) occurred.

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