Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife Science


Biological Sciences


College of Natural & Health Sciences

Committee Chair

Dr. Joseph N. Stoeckel

Second Committee Member

Dr. John R. Jackson

Third Committee Member

Frank J. Leone

Dean of Graduate College

Dr. Jeff Robertson


Standardizing low-frequency electrofishing procedures for sampling Blue Catfish Ictalurus furcatus has become a recent focus of fisheries biologists. Information on habitat use, value of chase boats, and duration and timing of samples could increase sampling efficiency. To asses these variables in Lake Dardanelle, Arkansas, I divided this reservoir into lacustrine, transition, and riverine zones. I used a systematic random sample design, and electrofisher, to collect 8,067 Blue Catfish from 458 samples between May and September 2016. I found: (1) The most efficient season to sample was the summer season when water temperatures were >25°C; (2) CPUE was highest on channel edges in the lacustrine and transition zones >6 m deep, and wing dikes in the riverine zone; and (3) CPUE was higher during a 5 min sample than a 10 min sample. To assess the efficacy of a chase boat, I used a systematic random design to collect 4,312 Blue Catfish from 96 samples in the lacustrine, and riverine zones between September 2015 and May 2017. I found: (1) sample efficiency with a chase boat was higher than with a single electrofisher; (2) PSD did not differ between the gears; and (3) sampling for 10 min with a chase boat was more efficient than for 5 min in the lacustrine zone. To assess Blue Catfish habitat use in Lake Dardanelle, I collected telemetry data from groups of large (N=23, >775 mm) and small (N=20, 560-700 mm) Blue Catfish tagged between January and April 2016 and found: (1) Blue Catfish were located on deeper water main channel, and submerged channel edges in the lacustrine and transition zones, and scour holes formed by wing dikes in the riverine zone; and (2) the proportion of fish located by telemetry and captured by electrofishing in common habitats was similar.