Gear and Seasonal Biases Associated with Sampling Crappie in Oklahoma

Differences in catch statistics (catch rates, length structure, and age structure) by gear and season were evaluated for white crappie (Pomoxis annularis) sampled with trap nets, electrofishing, and gill nets. Catch per man-hour of effort by trap nets was significantly higher than those of other gears tested in spring and fall. Variation in catch per man-hour was less for trapnet samples than for electrofishing or gillnet samples. Within-season variation in length distribution for trapnet samples was consistently less than within-season variation for the other gears tested. Gill nets sampled for the narrowest size range of crappie. Trap nets were the only gear that collected substantial numbers of age-O crappie in fall. Spring trap net and electrofishing samples caught a greater proportion of older Crappie than did the respective fall samples. Trap nets collected more fish and provided more precise data on white crappie populations than did the other gears tested. Catch per man-hour with fall trap nets was higher than the previous spring sample for all sizes of crappie. Fall trapnet samples represented the population age structure better than did respective spring samples. We recommended that Oklahoma incorporate a fall trapnet sampling schedule into a standardized sampling program, with crappie as a target species.

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