Factors affecting blue catfish populations in Texas reservoirs.
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Bartram, Brian L.
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While some blue catfish Ictalurus furcatus populations are native in Texas reservoirs, many are the result of introductions through stocking programs. Some of these stockings result in established populations while others do not. Blue catfish populations were sampled in 30 Texas reservoirs and population metrics were compared with multiple physicochemical and biological variables collected at each reservoir to examine the key factors that influence their establishment and survival. Factor analysis indicated that both gill net catch rates and low-frequency electrofishing catch rates were positively correlated to measures of primary productivity. The analysis also showed that gill net catch rates increased with increasing reservoir surface area. The occurrence of natural reproduction showed a weak negative correlation to length of growing season. This study provides further insight into the biology of blue catfish and provides managers with information that can be used to prioritize future stocking efforts.