Evaluation of an Entanglement Gear Fishery in an East Texas Mainstream Reservoir

A creel survey was conducted from 1 September 1990 through 31 August 1991 to estimate fishing pressure and catch rates, initial mortality, and value of fishes captured in an entanglement gear fishery at Wright Patman Reservoir, Texas. Mean daily net fishing pressure ranged from 3,508 m/day (fall) to 763 m/day (summer). Commercial nets accounted for 85% of the annual netting pressure. Catch rates of sport and commercial fishes declined as bar mesh size increased from 76 to 102 mm. Smallmouth buffalo (Ictiobus bubalus) was the dominant species represented in entanglement gear, comprising 70% of all fish and 84% of the rough fish/catfish captured. By-catch of sport fishes in nets was highest during winter months (12.7 fish/1,000 m of net) and represented 41% of that season's catch. Crappies (Pomoxis spp.) were the dominant sport species represented in nets, comprising 55% of the sport fish and 8% of all species captured. Most sport fishes captured in entanglement gear were legalsized adults. Annual initial netting mortality of sport fishes was 14.6%; largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) experienced the highest rate (37.5%). The estimated monetary cost to the resource from netting was $72,402; of that, $48,116 represented potential commercial value. Monetary loss of sport fishes as a result of netting-induced mortalities was $24,286, translating into a cost of $1.00 to the recreational fishery for every $2.00 of commercial value of rough fish/catfish.

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