Three alternative gears - an AC electrofishing raft, bankpoles, and a 15-hoop-net set - were used in a standardized manner to sample channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus in three prairie streams of varying size in three seasons. We compared these gears as to time required per sample, size selectivity, mean catch per unit effort (CPUE) among months, mean CPUE within months, effect of fluctuating stream stage, and sensitivity to population size. According to these comparisons, the 15-hoop-net set used during stable water levels in October had the most desirable characteristics. Using our catch data, we estimated the precision of CPUE and size structure by varying sample sizes for the 15-hoop-net set. We recommend that 11-15 repetitions of the 15-hoop-net set be used for most management activities. This standardized basic unit of effort will increase the precision of estimates and allow better comparisons among samples as well as increased confidence in management decisions.
Additional publication details
A standardized sampling protocol for channel catfish in prairie streams