Nathan G. Smith

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 5103 Junction Highway, Mountain Home, TX 78058, USA

A Tale of Two Timescales: Using Otolith Microchemistry to Improve Our Understanding of Alligator Gar Movement in the Lower Trinity River, Texas

SEAFWA Journal Volume 6, March 2019
Fisheries Outstanding Technical Paper

Telemetry-based study of alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) movement in the lower Trinity River, Texas, indicated that fish primarily re- mained within discrete home ranges less than 60 river kilometers (rkm), supporting the potential for local-scale management. However, the temporal scale of inference was limited (22 months), which may inadequately represent fish movements and home range size at the lifetime (i.e., ≥50 years) scale. Therefore, we used otolith microchemistry to examine the long-term movements of alligator gar (n = 59; total length range 1152 to 2420 mm, age range 4 to 60...

Reproductive Ecology of Alligator Gar: Identification of Environmental Drivers of Recruitment Success

SEAFWA Journal Volume 4, March 2017

Alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) exhibit many characteristics of a periodic life-history strategy, including extended longevity, late maturity, high fecundity, and variable recruitment success. Observations of alligator gar spawning events indicate that recruitment in inland waters may be linked to spring and summer flood pulses and the availability of floodplain spawning habitats. However, because data have mostly come from observation and not formal experimentation, it is unknown whether these data represent true requirements or if they simply reflect conditions that were easily...

Living on the Edge: Persistence of a Fringe Striped Bass Population

SEAFWA Journal Volume 3, March 2016

The lower Trinity River and Trinity Bay in Texas represent the southern limit of the native range of striped bass (Morone saxatilis). Life-history traits of fishes in the northern hemisphere often vary with latitude, with southern populations exhibiting faster growth, earlier age at maturity, reduced longevity, and higher mortality than northern populations. At this southern limit, water temperatures in the Trinity River often exceed reported tolerances for striped bass. We evaluated the likelihood that this fringe striped bass population can persist by examining their life history...

Characteristics and Conservation of a Trophy Alligator Gar Population in the Middle Trinity River, Texas

SEAFWA Journal Volume 3, March 2016
Fisheries Outstanding Technical Paper

The middle Trinity River in Texas supports one of the premier trophy alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) fisheries in the world. Published data on alligator gar life history and population characteristics are sparse, yet these data are needed to inform conservation and management. Using data from over 850 fish collected between 2007 and 2014, we described the size structure, population abundance, angler exploitation, and vital rates of this unique population. Collection of fish relied heavily on angler cooperators and included a three-year mark-recapture effort and the removal of...

Seasonal Condition of Adult Striped Bass Relative to Thermal Habitat and Forage Availability

Adult striped bass (Morone saxitilis) are vulnerable to high summer water temperatures and low dissolved oxygen (DO) in southern reservoirs, potentially resulting in poor body condition and elevated mortality. In Lake Buchanan, Texas, mean relative weights for striped bass >500 mm ranged from 77 to 84 from 2002-2007 in spring surveys when relative weight should be maximized. Two hypotheses were tested that could explain the observed poor condition of Lake Buchanan adult striped bass in spring: (1) lack of available prey, or (2) lack of suitable habitat during the previous summer....

Angler Practices and Preferences for Managing Alligator Gar in Texas

SEAFWA Journal Volume 8, March 2021
Fisheries Outstanding Technical Paper - Jack Dequine Award

Some anglers have questioned Texas’ statewide one-a-day alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) regulation. Simulations suggested other regulations might be preferred; however, angler support for other regulations was unknown. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) administered an online survey in summer 2018 to measure attitudes and preferences of Texas alligator gar anglers. Respondents who fished for alligator gar (= 3980) were primarily Texas resident anglers; 68% fished for gar using a rod-and-reel, but 23% used bow-and-arrow. Most anglers supported using...