Comparability of Channel Catfish Stock Descriptors Obtained from Different Hoop Net Configurations

Channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) stock characteristics of a small floodplain river were compared from samples collected in 1994-1996 from 3 different hoop configurations (large hoop net (LH): 4.3 long with 7 1.07-m diameter hoops and 3.81-cm bar mesh netting; small hoop net (SH): 1.3 m long with 4 0.51-m diameter hoops and 3.81-cm bar mesh netting; and small hoop net (SM): 1.3 m long with 4 .0.51-m diameter hoops and 2.54-cm bar mesh netting). Channel catfish were fully-recruited at 35cm total length (TL) in LH and SH configurations and 30 cm TL in the SM configuration. The SM configuration collected 2.5 times more channel catfish than LH and SH configurations combined. Length-frequency distributions of the fully-recruited component of the catch (fish > 35 cm TL) were similar (P > 0.05) among hoop net configurations. Mean TL and mean weight differences among configurations were reduced after correcting for differences in bar mesh size. Mean daily CPUE (fish/net-night and g/netnight) was not significantly correlated (P > 0.05) between LH and SH configurations. Significant mean daily CPUE correlations (P < 0.05) with weak associations existed between LH and SM configurations (r = 0.38 for fish/net-night; r = 0.32 for g/net-night) and between SH and SM configurations (r = 0.24 for fish/net-night; r = 0.23 for g/netnight). Mean seasonal CPUEs were significantly correlated (P < 0.05) between SH and SM configurations and revealed moderate associations (r = 0.69 for fish/net-night; r = 0.67 for g/net-night). However, significant mean seasonal CPUE correlations did not exist (P > 0.05) between LH and SH configurations or between LH and SM configurations. As a result, comparisons of relative abundance using CPUE as an index from different configurations should be used with caution.

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