Characteristics of the Freshwater Drum Fishery below Jordan Dam

Freshwater drum (Aplodinotus grunniens) are a significant component of the fishery resource in the Jordan Dam tailwater (Coosa River, Ala.). Most of the exploitation of the freshwater drum is centered around a spring influx into the system which appeared to be primarily mature fish moving upstream to spawn. There was little evidence of reproduction by this species within the tailwater. Although condition factors were highly variable across the range of lengths sampled, growth rates for freshwater drum in the Jordan Dam tailwater exceeded those reported elsewhere in the United States. By age six, freshwater drum reached total lengths of approximately 400 mm. From April through July 1983, 28.2% of those anglers interviewed had harvested freshwater drum even though few had specifically targeted it. During this same period, 94.0% of the annual harvest of the freshwater drum was recorded. Mean catch per unit effort for anglers harvesting freshwater drum was 0.27 ± 0.10 kg/hour with most fish harvested being <300 mm total length. Length frequencies of fish in the creel and in electrofishing samples were similar. Freshwater drum in this tailwater fishery may be an important resource for persons using the resource for subsistence purposes.

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