Jeff Boxrucker

Catfish Angling and Harvest Statistics with an Emphasis on Trophy Blue Catfish Management

Increasing interest in “trophy” catfish angling in Oklahoma has prompted Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) staff to collect basic biological data aimed at managing these fisheries. In light of recent studies indicating slow growth rates of reservoir blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) populations, management of trophy fisheries becomes challenging. In an effort to better understand catfish angler and harvest statistics, ODWC Law Enforcement Division personnel interviewed catfish anglers statewide to determine angling method, average angler party size and species, numbers,...


Abundance, Growth, and Mortality of Selected Oklahoma Blue Catfish Populations: Implications for Management of Trophy Fisheries

Blue catfish Ictalurus furcatus electrofishing samples were collected on nine Oklahoma reservoirs and age and growth estimates were made on seven of these reservoirs. Catch rates of blue catfish were high (up to 700/h) on all reservoirs sampled but catch rates of preferred-sized (>762 mm total length) catfish were low (<5/h). Growth rates varied widely both within and among reservoirs but were generally slow with blue catfish not reaching preferred size until ages 13-16. A negative relation between catch rates and growth was identified. Total annual mortality rates averaged 26% for...


Abundance, Growth, and Mortality of the Lake Texoma Blue Catfish Population: Implications for Management

The blue catfish Ictalurus furcatus fishery at Lake Texoma has been increasing in popularity. Guides that typically seek striped bass Morone saxatilis switch to blue catfish, particularly during the winter months when the largest individuals are most vulnerable. Low frequency electrofishing samples, collected since the early 1990s by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, indicate that population abundance is stable but concerns have been raised over the long term viability of the fishery in the face of increased angling pressure on the largest individuals. Baseline age and...


Changes in Crappie Population Structure Following Restrictive Harvest Regulations

Crappie Pomoxis spp. population structure on Arbuckle Reservoir was monitored from 1984-1997 using fall trap-net samples. A creel survey was conducted from 1985-1995. A 254-mm length limit/15-fish daily creel regulation was placed on the lake 1 January 1993. Prior to the length limit, the population was characterized as fast-growing and short-lived. Angler harvest steadily increased after the length limit and in the final year of the creel survey, yield (kg/ha) was higher than in 5 of the 8 years data were collected prior to the length limit. Angler acceptance of the length limit was high...


Optimizing Saugeye Sampling Protocol

Monthly electrofishing samples for saugeye (walleye x sauger hybrids; Stizostedion vitreum x S. canadense) were collected on 3 reservoirs during spring and fall, 1996. Sampling was stratified by day type (day and night) and habitat type (bass-cove and saugeye-main-lake shoreline and points). CPUE (N fish/hour) was calculated for 4 size classes and compared for each sampling stratum. Precision of the estimates was calculated and sampling recommendations made. Differences in seasonal catch rates were inconsistent among reservoirs and size classes. CPUEs of night samples were higher for size...


Results of Concomitant Predator and Prey Stockings as a Management Strategy in Combatting Stunting in an Oklahoma Crappie Population

The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of an introduced predator (saugeye; Stizostedion vitreum X Stizostedion canadense) on the density of intermediate-size white crappie (Pomoxis annularis) and to provide a prey species (threadfin shad; Dorosoma petenense) to facilitate the crappie dietary shift from invertebrates to fish. Concomitant annual stockings of fingerling saugeye and adult threadfin shad were initiated in 1985 and continued through 1991. Although late summer spawns of threadfin shad were documented in 1988 and 1989, trawl samples failed to collect substantial...


Gear and Seasonal Biases Associated with Sampling Crappie in Oklahoma

Fisheries Outstanding Technical Paper

Differences in catch statistics (catch rates, length structure, and age structure) by gear and season were evaluated for white crappie (Pomoxis annularis) sampled with trap nets, electrofishing, and gill nets. Catch per man-hour of effort by trap nets was significantly higher than those of other gears tested in spring and fall. Variation in catch per man-hour was less for trapnet samples than for electrofishing or gillnet samples. Within-season variation in length distribution for trapnet samples was consistently less than within-season variation for the other gears tested. Gill nets...


First Year Growth and Survival of Stocked Largemouth Bass in a Small Oklahoma Impoundment

Liberty Lake was stocked with fingerling largemouth bass (Mieropterus salmoides) at 448/ha in July, 1980. Monthly electrofishing samples collected for 1 year following stocking showed 76.4% of the 1980-year-class to have been stocked. A bimodal length distribution of stocked fish appeared in fall, 1980 and continued throughout the sampling period. Decreased survival of the stocked largemouth bass during the winter was noted. Most mortality occurred in the slower-growing fish. However, a decline in the number of fish from both length modes was evident.