Evaluation of the Related Catch Rates of Hoop Nets for Sampling Channel Catfish

Current standardized sampling procedures in Oklahoma call for the use of gill nets to collect relative abundance and size structure data on channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus). While gill nets are effective at catching channel catfish, their usefulness as a sampling tool is limited because of the variability of the resulting data. Furthermore, gill nets represent a lethal means of sampling channel catfish which can adversely affect channel catfish populations. Hoop nets have been found to be an effective alternative method for catching channel catfish, but little is known concerning seasonal effects on catch efficiency of hoop nets, especially in reservoirs. We sampled 2 Oklahoma reservoirs monthly from April through October 1999 using baited hoop nets. The data were analyzed for monthly differences in C/f (numbers of individuals captured per net night), C/fs (numbers of individuals <280 mm total length captured per net night), and C/fQ (numbers of individuals >410 mm total length captured per net night). Catch rates were greatest for both reservoirs from June through October. However, the data were highly variable and precision was low. In conclusion, protocols need to be developed that will decrease sampling variance and increase precision before hoop nets can be a viable sampling method.

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