Size and age of Stonecats in Lake Champlain; Estimating growth at the margin of their range to aid in population management

North American Journal of Fisheries Management
By: , and 



Little is known about populations of Stonecat Noturus flavus, especially in the northeastern United States, where they are at the edge of their range. In Lake Champlain tributaries, Stonecats are listed as endangered in Vermont but not in New York. Here we describe the growth of Stonecats in two tributaries to Lake Champlain, one in Vermont (LaPlatte River), which was our primary interest, and one in New York (Great Chazy River), with von Bertalanffy growth models fit to lengths at the times of marking and recapture and to observed length and age data. We also compared growth of Stonecats in these waters to results from other locations near the middle of their distribution. Stonecats in the Great Chazy River were larger at ages 1–3, but similar in size for ages 4 and 5, than Stonecats from the LaPlatte River. Stonecats in Lake Champlain tributaries were generally larger at age than those from the middle of their range, except for those from Lake Erie. From our mean length‐at‐age results and previous literature estimates of length at maturity for Stonecats, it appears that Stonecats in Lake Champlain reach maturity by age 3, though future research that directly estimates age at maturity would be more informative. These results will help managers assess the effect of various environmental and human stressors that Stonecats have experienced in the Lake Champlain basin in recent years. Furthermore, our results expand the literature, which lacks information about growth of this species. Finally, our mark–recapture approach to estimating growth of Stonecats can be applied to other species, especially where data are limited because of their status, and in other systems.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Size and age of Stonecats in Lake Champlain; Estimating growth at the margin of their range to aid in population management
Series title North American Journal of Fisheries Management
DOI 10.1002/nafm.10230
Volume 38
Issue 6
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher American Fisheries Society
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Leetown
Description 8 p.
First page 1316
Last page 1323
Country United States
State New York, Vermont
Other Geospatial Great Chazy River, La Platte River, Lake Champlain
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