Assessing Angler Exploitation Rates for Blue Catfish and Flathead Catfish with Reward Tags in Truman Reservoir

Date Written: 
Fri, 02/08/2013

Introduction: MDC suspected that blue catfish Ictalurus furcatus and flathead catfish Pylodictis olivaris were being heavily exploited by anglers in 55,600 acre Harry S. Truman Reservoir in west-central Missouri. A reward tag study was initiated in 2004 to determine angler exploitation rates for both species.

Goal: Determine annual and cumulative angler exploitation rates for blue catfish and flathead catfish to assess whether these populations are being overexploited (i.e., mean annual exploitation >0.20 for a long lived species).

Management Findings: Mean annual exploitation over a five year period was 0.288 for blue catfish and 0.018 for flathead catfish, clearly showing the difference in angler exploitation rates for these two species.

Management Implications: The annual exploitation rate for blue catfish that we documented in this study is considered high for a longlived sportfish species. These results, along with results from a three year volunteer angler creel survey, and three years of baseline jugline sampling at Truman and Lake of the Ozarks have been foundational in the agency effort to propose more restrictive blue catfish regulations at both reservoirs.

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