Channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus, were collected with gill nets, trawl, and trap nets at three localities in Lake Oahe for the study of year-class strength, growth in length and weight, age composition, sexual maturity, and food. Fish were recruited to all the collection gears at age II. Relatively strong year classes were produced in 1962, 1965, and 1966. Youngest fish were captured in the upper end of the Moreau River embayment, which apparently serves as a nursery area. Growth of age 0 fish was poor probably because the growing season was short; optimum spawning temperature were not reached until mid-summer. Growth of age II and older fish reached a peak in 1963 and declined rather steadily in 1964-68. Males began to mature at age VIII, and all fish of both sexes were mature at age XI. The diet changed from zooplankton to fish as channel catfish increased in length; aquatic insects (primarily chironomid larvae and pupae) were important foods for fish of all sizes. Fish less than 300 mm long selected large zooplankters -- Leptodora kindtii and Daphnia spp -- over smaller copepods. Larger channel catfish ate principally yellow perch, Perca flavescens.
Additional publication details
Age, growth, sexual maturity, and food of channel catfish in central Lake Oahe, 1968-69