We explored relationships among black bullhead (Ameiurus melas) population characteristics and physicochemical attributes in shallow lakes and quantified relationships between population characteristics of black bullhead and sport fishes. Lake characteristics and fisheries survey data were collected from the Sandhills region of northcentral Nebraska from May through June, 1998 and 1999. Relative abundance of black bullheads was inversely related to proportional stock density (r=-0.672, df=15, P=0.004); however, neither relative weight nor growth was significantly (P ??? 0.20) related to black bullhead relative abundance. Population characteristics of common panfish species such as bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus), green sunfish (L. cyanellus), pumpkinseed (L. gibbosus), and yellow perch (Perca flavescens) were not correlated with black bullhead relative abundance or size structure. Rather, proportional stock density (r=0.655, df=10, P=0.029) and growth (r=0.59, df=11, P=0.04) of black bullhead were positively related to relative abundance of largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides). Similarly, black bullhead relative abundance was inversely related to largemouth bass size structure (r=-0.51, df=14, P= 0.05). Black bullhead mean length at age 3 was positively related to total phosphorous concentration (r=0.65, df=16, P=0.004), and bullhead relative abundance was positively related to shoreline development index (r=0.46, df=22, P=0.03). Population characteristics of black bullhead appeared to have little influence on panfish communities. Rather, black bullhead abundance, predator density, and lake productivity exhibited stronger relationships with black bullhead population characteristics.
Additional publication details
Biotic and abiotic correlates with black bullhead population characteristics in Nebraska sandhill lakes