Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Wildlife and Fisheries Science


A two-year study estimated standing stock, growth, condition, survival rates, and population structure of bluegills (Lepomis macrochirus) and black bullheads (Ictalurus melas) stocked in South Dakota farm ponds with largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides). Bluegills and black bullheads reproduced during the second growing seasons and by the end of the study three year-classes of fishes were present in most ponds. Mean back-calculated bluegill total lengths at annuli 1-3 were 58, 125, and 153 mm, respectively. Mean back-calculated black bullhead total lengths at annuli 1-3 were 82, 182, and 240 mm, respectively. A significant north vs south difference (P≤0.05) in third-year bullhead total lengths was detected. Bullheads in southern ponds averaged 262 mm; northern pond bullheads averaged 220 mm. No significant differences (p ≥ 0.05) in total lengths were found for the 1980 and 1981 year-classes of bullheads in the same comparison. Bluegill standing stock estimates ranged from 22-64 kg/hectare (20-57 lbs /acre) and averaged 41 kg/hectare (37 lbs/acre). Standing stock estimates for black bullheads ranged from 145-398 kg/hectare (129-354 lbs/acre) and averaged 273 kg/hectare (243 lbs/acre). Bluegill and black bullhead survival for the first two years in eastern South Dakota ponds was 31.0% and 30.2%, respectively. Survival from 1980-1981 was 83.9% for bluegills and 69.1% for bullheads. Mean relative weight of bluegills (122) indicated above average condition for fish in South Dakota ponds. Black bullheads had a relative weight of 99. No significant geographical differences (P≥0.05) were detected in bluegill of black bullhead relative weights. Proportional Stock Density (PSD) values for bluegill ranged from 36-79%. Bluegill Young-Adult Ratio (YAR) values for the two ponds were 2.2 and 2.0. Black bullhead PSD values ranged form 9-80%. YAR values of black bullheads ranged from 0.3-290.0. Both Bluegill and black bullhead PSD values indicated a large number of quality size fish with few stock size fish. PSD values of 20-60% for bluegill are considered optimal when management of ponds is for both largemouth bass and bluegills. Bluegill YAR values were within the optimal range (1-10) while bullhead YAR values were extremely high. Discriminate analysis was used for predicting physical and chemical parameters influencing survival of individual fish populations. Five parameters were selected (area, maximum depth, conductivity, turbidity, and carbonates) and pons were analyzed by individual species and all species combined. When all species were analyzed, pond depth was the most important parameter (P≤0.05).

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Bluegill -- Growth
Black bullhead -- Growth
Fish ponds -- South Dakota


Includes bibliographical references (pages 40-46)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University