A Late Spring Survey of Pelagic Prey in Lake Moultrie, South Carolina—Implications for Management

We performed a hydroacoustic survey of fishes in Lake Moultrie, South Carolina, in May 1993. Pelagic fish densities were less than 70/ha with an average size of approximately 13 cm; densities of benthic fishes, most likely catfishes (Ictalurus spp.), were much higher, approximately 600/ha. Fish densities encountered in May were nearly 2 orders of magnitude less than either those reported in 32 years of fall rotenone surveys or in fall hydroacoustic surveys in upstream reservoirs. Confirmation of these low fish densities will require expanding sampling efforts. If validated, our findings may suggest a seasonal pelagic prey shortage, indicating a need for maximizing anadromous fish passage and close scrutiny of management activities including aquatic vegetation control, harvest restrictions, and stocking.

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