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CONFERENCE SCHEDULE UPDATES & CHANGES: As a result of the prolonged government shutdown, we experienced a number of cancellations and changes to the schedule. Cancellations and changes are listed here (as of January 26, 2019). 

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T23: Fisheries: Big Rivers [clear filter]
Tuesday, January 29
 

3:20pm EST

(FISHERIES: BIG RIVERS) Identifying Catostomid Larvae Using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) to Better Understand Reproduction Within Large River Systems
AUTHORS: Kellie N. Hanser, Cassi Moody-Carpenter, Jordan Pesik – Eastern Illinois University; Dan Roth, Indiana Department of Natural Resources; Aaron Schrey, Gerogia Southern University-Armstrong Campus; Anthony Porreca, Kaskaskia Biological Station: Illinois Natural History Survey; Robert E. Colombo, Eastern Illinois University

ABSTRACT: Catostomidae, the third largest freshwater fish family, comprises a high percentage of fish biomass in river systems throughout North America. Despite their presence, there is little information on the reproductive life history for this family in large, midwestern rivers and their tributaries. To address this, we sampled larval fish in three tributaries of both the Illinois River and Wabash River in conjunction with environmental data collected on factors thought to be important for reproduction. Between 2016 and 2017, we collected 130 and 2626 catostomid larvae from the Illinois and Wabash River tributaries, respectively. Due to the morphological difficulty of identifying catostomid larvae past family taxonomic level, Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) was used to identify catostomid larvae to either genus or species. Results of larvae identification are still pending due to processing time. We expect Wabash River tributaries to have a higher abundance of Moxostoma(Redhorse) while the Illinois River tributaries will have a higher abundance in Ictiobus(Buffalo) due to differences in connectivity between the systems. Future research will examine the relationship between larval and adult catostomid abundance in the Illinois and Wabash River systems.   

Tuesday January 29, 2019 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM B

3:40pm EST

(FISHERIES: BIG RIVERS) Age-0 Daily Growth Estimation of Commercially Exploited Channel Catfish in a Free-Flowing Midwestern River
AUTHORS: K.B. Wood, Cassi J. Moody-Carpenter, Robert E. Colombo – Eastern Illinois University

ABSTRACT: Highly variable discharge experienced by the lower Wabash River due to a more natural hydrology pattern overlaps with Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) reproduction period; this leads to variable conditions for age-0 fish to develop upon hatching. There ubiquitous pattern of cryptic information published about age-0 Channel Catfish, and any insight would be advantageous to multiple facets in Channel Catfish life history. While a male will spawn multiple times through the year, reproduction is dictated by the females, only becoming gravid once annually; females becoming gravid at separate times leads to there being non-coeval cohorts. In their larval stages, endogenous feeding promotes a constant growth rate, but switching to exogenous feeding and entering the juvenile stages leads to growth dependent on the environmental conditions. We observed stable reproduction in varying conditions over four years of sampling (p > .05). Peak abundance in August signifies a peak in the aggregation of cohorts. Past surveys have shown there are at least five cohorts of age-0 Channel Catfish throughout the spawning season in the Wabash River; investigations into growth patterns of these cohorts by estimating daily growth from the otoliths can offer insight into which cohorts may best be utilizing their available resources. Variations in growth patterns could come from present conditions, normal seasonal variation, or a combination of both. Results from this study could aid in creating a recruitment index for Channel Catfish in this exploited lotic system. 

Tuesday January 29, 2019 3:40pm - 4:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM B

4:00pm EST

(FISHERIES: BIG RIVERS) Age, Growth, and Yield-Per-Recruit of Black Crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus) in Pools 4, 8, and 13 of the Upper Mississippi River
AUTHORS: Tyler Ham, Indiana Department of Natural Resources; Dr. Quinton Phelps, West Virginia University

ABSTRACT: Population dynamics are important to consider when managing recreational fisheries. Population dynamics interact with effects of harvest to create fluctuations that may need ameliorated through regulation. Black Crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus)are a popular sport fish in the United States that anglers spend time and money pursuing on a yearly basis. Despite their importance, limited information exists on Mississippi River Black Crappie. Therefore, the goal of this study was to evaluate the population dynamics of Black Crappie in Pools 4, 8, and 13 of the Upper Mississippi River. The potential for growth overfishing was evaluated through the use of yield-per-recruit modelsand based on historic harvest rates and habitat modifications within these pools. Overall, 201 crappie were collected from Pool 4, 215 from Pool 8, and 130 from Pool 13 during the summer and fall of 2016. All fish were weighed, measured, and aged via sagittal otoliths. We simulated exploitation for six different length limits. We found that growth overfishing did not occur until exploitation rates exceeded 50% for fish less than or equal to 152 mm. These results suggest that Black Crappie populations in Pools 4, 8, and 13 are not at risk of growth overfishing, but continued monitoring is warranted due to the potential influence of extrinsic factors like climate change, eutrophication, and vegetation shifts.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 4:00pm - 4:20pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM B

4:20pm EST

(CANCELLED) (FISHERIES: BIG RIVERS) Paddlefish Exploitation and Movements Within the Mississippi River Basin
AUTHORS: Thomas Devine, Southeast Missouri State University; Sara Tripp, Missouri Department of Conservation; Nick Kramer, Kansas Fish & Wildlife Division

ABSTRACT: The American Paddlefish Polyodon spathula is an ancient species native to the Mississippi River and its larger tributaries. This species exhibits a unique combination of morphology and life history characteristics that leaves them vulnerable to negative impacts caused by river modification and the potential for overexploitation. This has led to population declines in portions of the historic range. Concern regarding unknown exploitation rates from sport and commercial fisheries has increased in recent decades and the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species is now seeking information from state agencies regarding the sustainability of commercially harvested Paddlefish Populations. The Missouri Department of Conservation is addressing this through the implementation of a five year study on exploitation of Paddlefish in the Mississippi River. The first two years of this project found that minimal exploitation of Paddlefish along Missouri’s eastern border with an exploitation estimate of 4.01% (SE=0.02). The third and fourth year of this study we focused on tagging more paddlefish with jaw bands and transmitters to further evaluate current exploitation rate and better understand paddlefish movement patterns in the Mississippi River and its tributaries. We found that paddlefish are moving great distances and crossed many regulatory boundaries. Despite low exploitation rate estimates, when information from this study is combined with previous work, a precautionary adjustment of regulations is advised to protect Paddlefish through maturation and ensure sustainability. In addition, Paddlefish regulations should be assessed across the entire Mississippi watershed, as regulations differ within and between regulatory and state boundaries. A combination of population monitoring (e.g. exploitation and population dynamics) and telemetry efforts have the potential to help inform future basin wide management approaches.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 4:20pm - 4:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM B

4:40pm EST

(FISHERIES: BIG RIVERS) Long-term Shovelnose Sturgeon Recapture and Population Data and Implications for Management Actions
AUTHORS: Craig Jansen, Indiana Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: The Wabash River sustains one of the few remaining commercial fisheries for Shovelnose Sturgeon (SNSG). Since a statewide minimum length limit (25 inches eye-to-fork) was implemented in 2007, there have been concerns that regulations are not offering sufficient protection for the population, specifically mature females. SNSG have been sampled throughout the Wabash River from 2005 to 2018. General demographic data was collected from all fish (length, weight, pectoral fin ray) and sex was identified if possible. All fish were tagged with a unique Floy tag. Linear regressions were used to identify trends in annual mean length of the entire sampled population and confirmed mature females. Average length of SNSG exhibited a general decreasing trend, peaking at 27.1 inches in 2007 and decreasing to 25.5 by 2017. The mean size of confirmed females decreased more dramatically from 28.4 inches in 2009 to 25.9 inches in 2018. Days at-large was calculated for recaptured fish, and individuals were grouped based on size at original tagging. Recaptured fish exhibited a strong homing behavior as most were captured less than 5 miles from the original tagging site. Several SNSG have been recaptured 10 to 13 years after tagging and exhibit little to no growth. Once maturity is reached growth becomes negligible, and individual fish do not follow a typical population growth curve. Results suggest regulations have allowed overharvest, and more specifically, the removal of fast-growing and large females from the population. Based on the unique life-history and lucrative market value of SNSG, traditional fisheries management tools, such as minimum length limits, may not adequately protect the population from overharvest. More restrictive regulations are needed to ensure the Wabash River SNSG do not collapse like other sturgeon populations throughout the world.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 4:40pm - 5:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM B