Conservation, Ecology, and Management of Catfish: The Second International Symposium

Assessing Angler Exploitation of Blue Catfish and Flathead Catfish in a Missouri Reservoir Using Reward Tags

Kevin P. Sullivan and Ivan W. Vining

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781934874257.ch17

Abstract.—The Missouri Department of Conservation suspected that blue catfish Ictalurus furcatus and flathead catfish Pylodictis olivaris were being heavily exploited by anglers in 22,539-ha Harry S. Truman Reservoir in west-central Missouri. A reward tag study was initiated in 2004 to determine angler exploitation rates for both species. Three hundred blue catfish ≥ 482 mm total length (TL) and 194 flathead catfish ≥ 508 mm TL were equipped with transbody Carlin dangler reward tags in 2004 and 2005, respectively. All reward tags displayed a reward value of US$50. A 5-year post-tagging estimate of annual exploitation (u) was calculated with a 25% annual correction for angler nonreporting and a one-time correction for tag loss. The estimated annual exploitation rates for blue catfish ranged from 25.5% to 33.4% with a mean of 28.8%. The estimated cumulative exploitation rate (U) at 5-years post-tagging was 81.7% for all sizes of tagged blue catfish and 92.4% for tagged blue catfish ≥ 610 mm TL. The estimated annual exploitation rates for flathead catfish ranged from 0% to 3.9% with a mean of 1.8%. The estimated cumulative exploitation rate at 5-years post-tagging for flathead catfish was 8.8%. These exploitation rates indicate that blue catfish are being heavily exploited while flathead catfish are not. Of all the reward tagged blue catfish that were reported by anglers, 7% were reported as released while 22% of the reported flathead catfish were released. These results are being used to examine possible regulation changes to protect the blue catfish fishery at Truman Reservoir.