Changes in Crappie Population Structure Following Restrictive Harvest Regulations

Crappie Pomoxis spp. population structure on Arbuckle Reservoir was monitored from 1984-1997 using fall trap-net samples. A creel survey was conducted from 1985-1995. A 254-mm length limit/15-fish daily creel regulation was placed on the lake 1 January 1993. Prior to the length limit, the population was characterized as fast-growing and short-lived. Angler harvest steadily increased after the length limit and in the final year of the creel survey, yield (kg/ha) was higher than in 5 of the 8 years data were collected prior to the length limit. Angler acceptance of the length limit was high. Growth rates remained unchanged following implementation of the length limit. Although no differences in mortality rates could be demonstrated using the trap-net data, size and age structure of the crappie population improved. Based on the data collected, the length limit regulation met the objectives as stated.

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