An Analysis of Exploitation and Harvest of White Crappie in Poverty Point Reservoir, Louisiana

Because of growing angler concern regarding excessive crappie (Pomoxis spp.) harvest in Poverty Point Reservoir, Louisiana, exploitation rate of white crappie (P. annularis) was estimated from 1 January to 31 May 2009, and data were collected on angler characteristics throughout the year at this relatively new reservoir. A reward-tag approach was utilized to assess exploitation, while angler characteristics were determined through a stratified, random, access-point creel survey. White crappie (n = 243) were tagged from January-March 2009 with Floy T-bar anchor tags labeled with REWARD and a sequential tag number. A total of 135 tagged crappie were harvested and reported by anglers by 31 May 2009. Exploitation was estimated at 59.3% based on the assumption of a 10% non-reporting rate and no tagging mortality, but could have exceeded 70% if mortality or non-reporting were higher than estimated. The creel survey revealed that crappie anglers harvested 1.33 crappie per hour, with a mean total length of 290 mm. Angler effort for crappie was estimated at 21.8 h/ha within the eight-month creel period. Fishing mortality and harvest data obtained from this study will supplement future age and growth data to obtain an accurate assessment of total annual mortality, and be utilized in simulations to model the effects of various harvest regulations on the crappie population in Poverty Point Reservoir. This study will also be used as a model in the investigation of specialized crappie management in Louisiana.

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