Evaluation of a Length-categorization System for Flathead Catfish

Increased management of wild catfish stocks is imminent due to their growing popularity with anglers and commercial exploitation. Length-categorization systems, like those used for largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), would improve catfish stock assessment and facilitate comparison of results among years, gears, samples, and populations. Flathead catfish (Pylodictis olivaris) from the Flint River, Georgia, collected by electrofishing and those caught by fishermen were assessed with Proportional Stock Density (PSD) and Relative Stock Density (RSD) indices. Population PSD was 72, suggesting a high quality fishery. Fishermen selected fish in the RSD Quality-Preferred and Preferred-Memorable length categories. Minimum length for size categories may be too low, and I submit alternate thresholds. Use of a standardized system is recommended for reporting results of catfish studies.

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