Effects of Post-stocking Flows on Striped and Hybrid Striped Bass Recruitment in the Ohio River

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and bordering states stock striped bass (Morone saxatilis) and hybrid striped bass (Morone saxatilis x Morone chrysops) into the Ohio River. These stockings resulted in the development of Morone spp. sport fisheries in several pools of the Ohio River along Kentucky's border. Recruitment of striped and hybrid striped bass into these fisheries has been highly variable. Fall recruitment patterns of striped and hybrid striped bass were evaluated. It was determined that river flow during or just after stocking had a major influence on the contribution of the stocked striped and hybrid striped bass fingerlings to fall year-class strength estimates. Fall striped bass electrofishing catch rates ranged from 22.1 (SE = 6.2) to 41.4 (SE = 12.8) fish/h when river flows were below the 24-year average for July. Hybrid striped bass electrofishing catch rates during the same flow periods ranged from 7.8 (SE = 2.9) to 18.9 (SE = 7.0) fish/h. However, fall electrofishing catch rates for both species declined during years when the July mean flow exceeded the 24-year average. Hybrid striped bass fall catch rates [3.5 (SE = 0.8) - 5.4 (SE = 1.5) fish/h] during these years, however, consistently exceeded those observed for striped bass [0.1 (SE = 0.1) - 1.4 (SE = 0.7) fish/h]. Stocking of hybrid striped bass at 12 fish/ha is recommended with the continued stocking of striped bass at 12 fish/ha to provide a trophy component to the Morone spp. fishery in the Ohio River.

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