Changes in Redbreast Sunfish Population Characteristics in the Black and Lumber Rivers, North Carolina

The objective of this study was to document changes in catch rates (fish/hour) and size structure of the redbreast sunfish (Lepomis auritus) populations in the Black and Lumber rivers, North Carolina, over a 4-year period following implementation of a 12-fish daily creel limit. Using boat-mounted electrofishing gear, 123, 122, 94, and 59 redbreast sunfish were collected from the Black River from 1994 through 1997. Numbers of redbreast sunfish collected from the Lumber River during the same years were 257, 252, 164, and 183. Mean CPUE for Black River redbreast sunfish was 18, 19, 16, and 7 fish/hour from 1994 through 1997. Lumber River redbreast sunfish were captured at rates of 35, 33, 27, and 23 fish/hour from 1994 through 1997. Proportional stock density (PSD) values for redbreast sunfish in the Black River exceeded 25 all 4 years of the study while PSD values for Lumber River redbreast sunfish exceeded 45. Based on these values, the redbreast sunfish populations in both systems would be categorized as supporting quality-size individuals. RSD200mm values for Lumber River redbreast sunfish of 13 (1994) and 28 (1995) would suggest an exceptional redbreast population in this system.

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