Spatial and temporal consumption dynamics of trout in catch-and-release areas in Arkansas tailwaters

Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
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Abstract

Restrictive angling regulations in tailwater trout fisheries may be unsuccessful if food availability limits energy for fish to grow. We examined spatial and temporal variation in energy intake and growth in populations of Brown Trout Salmo trutta and Rainbow Trout Oncorhynchus mykiss within three catch-and-release (C-R) areas in Arkansas tailwaters to evaluate food availability compared with consumption. Based on bioenergetic simulations, Rainbow Trout fed at submaintenance levels in both size-classes (≤400 mm TL, >400 mm TL) throughout most seasons. A particular bottleneck in food availability occurred in the winter for Rainbow Trout when the daily ration was substantially below the minimum required for maintenance, despite reduced metabolic costs associated with lower water temperatures. Rainbow Trout growth rates followed a similar pattern to consumption with negative growth rates during the winter periods. All three size-classes (<250 mm TL, 250–400 mm TL, >400 mm TL) of Brown Trout experienced high growth rates and limited temporal bottlenecks in food availability. We observed higher mean densities for Rainbow Trout (47–342 fish/ha) than for Brown Trout (3–84 fish/ha) in all C-R areas. Lower densities of Brown Trout coupled with an ontogenetic shift towards piscivory may have allowed for higher growth rates and sufficient consumption rates to meet energetic demands. Brown Trout at current densities were more effective in maintaining adequate growth rates and larger sizes in C-R areas than were Rainbow Trout. Bioenergetic simulations suggest that reducing stocking levels of Rainbow Trout in the tailwaters may be necessary in order to achieve increased catch rates of larger trout in the C-R areas.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Spatial and temporal consumption dynamics of trout in catch-and-release areas in Arkansas tailwaters
Series title Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
DOI 10.1080/00028487.2017.1281169
Volume 146
Issue 3
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Atlanta
Description 18 p.
First page 432
Last page 449
Country United States
State Arkansas
County Baxter County, Marion County
Other Geospatial Ozark Highlands, White River