Movement and Behavior of Blue Catfish in Lake Wilson, Alabama

Twelve large (>6 kg) blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) were collected and surgically implanted with one-year radio transmitters near Wheeler Dam in Lake Wilson, Alabama, during April-May 2007. Fish were located every 14 days over an 11-month period; 10 fish survived for at least 90 days. Four fish remained in the area where they were tagged for the duration of the study. Six fish moved away from the Wheeler Dam tailrace of which four fish moved down river and likely inhabited depths beyond the effective range of our radio telemetry equipment. One radiotagged catfish emigrated downstream from Lake Wilson into Pickwick Lake. Although some blue catfish in Lake Wilson made long migrations, a substantial proportion of tagged individuals (60%) remained sedentary and moved very little throughout the year. Blue catfish moved <30 m between 48% of biweekly tracking events and 38% of diel tracking locations. Water temperature was negatively related to movement rates and the probability of observing fish movement (>30 m).

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