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Welcome to the interactive web schedule for the 2019 Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference! The schedule is subject to change (as of November 7, 2018). Please check back for updates. To return to the main Conference website, go to: www.midwestfw.org.

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Tuesday, January 29 • 11:20am - 11:40am
(FISHERIES: LAKES & RESERVOIRS) Evaluating Growth of Angled Bluegill Relative to the Randomly Sampled Population

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AUTHORS: Ben C. Neely, Jeff D. Koch, Connor J. Chance-Ossowski – Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism

ABSTRACT: Bluegill Lepomis macrochirus contribute to unique fisheries in Kansas where they fill many niches. One niche that has been gaining recent attention from anglers is pursuit of large individuals. These efforts typically occur during the Bluegill spawn in May and June when anglers can visually target nest-guarding fish. A combination of being visually evident and aggressively defending nests makes Bluegill especially susceptible to angler harvest during this time. There is concern that harvest of nest-tending Bluegill may remove the fastest growing individuals from the population and ultimately results in populations that do not support quality Bluegill fisheries. To this end, Bluegill were sampled from 14 Kansas impoundments with both fall electrofishing at random shoreline locations and spring angling for nest-tending individuals in 2017 and 2018. Total length was recorded from all captured individuals and otoliths were collected from up to five individuals per centimeter group for age and growth estimation. In all impoundments, length distribution of sampled bluegill differed between gears with angled fish shifted toward larger individuals. Similarly, angled fish exhibited more rapid growth than randomly sampled individuals in some populations. These results highlight the vulnerability of the fastest growing individuals in bluegill populations to angler harvest while preparing and guarding spawning sites. Further, these results suggest that instituting some level of protection to nest-guarding Bluegill might result in increased size structure and promote development and maintenance of quality Bluegill fisheries.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 11:20am - 11:40am
CENTER STREET ROOM C