Size, Growth, and Condition of Flathead Catfish in Sutton Lake, North Carolina: Implications for Managing an Introduced Species in Thermally-Influenced Reservoirs

Abstract.: A total of 747 flathead catfish (Pylodictis olivaris) were collected from Sutton Lake cooling reservoir located near Wilmington, North Carolina (1999 to 2006), using boat-mounted electrofishing techniques. Individuals >600 mm total length accounted for 70% of all fish collected and trophysized fish (>1,020 mm total length) accounted for 9% of all fish collected. Mean total length (TL) at age was described by the von Bertalanffy growth curve as TL = 1,200 (1-e-0.17[age + 0.93]). Sutton Lake flathead catfish total annual mortality (A) was 0.32. The well-established flathead catfish population of Sutton Lake exhibited rapid growth rates and trophy-sized fish, but the potential for establishing a trophy flathead fishery seems no greater than in area rivers despite Sutton Lake's longer growing season.

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