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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

David W. Willis


Largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) and bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) populations in the Big Stone Power Plant cooling reservoir, South Dakota were monitored between 1986 and 1988. Bluegill population estimates during recent years have declined, and appear to be more stable than previous years. Catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) and Proportional Stock Density (PSD) data for bluegill indicate a shift toward lower abundance and higher size structure, which may be attributed to an increase in predators. Largemouth bass were stocked from 1985 to 1987 and first reproduced in 1987. However, largemouth bass population levels remained low due to poor survival of fish stocked in 1985, and poor recruitment of the 1987 cohort. Largemouth bass growth in the cooling reservoir was fast compared to other impoundments in the region, likely due to warmer water. Bluegill growth was similar to other regional waters. Largemouth bass population indices, CPUE and PSD, peaked in the spring and fall during both heated and non-heated years. Largemouth bass CPUE was significantly (P < 0 . 05) greater in the fall during 1988, but no differences were found in 1987. Largemouth bass CPUE and PSD during both years had an inverse relationship with water temperature and generally peaked between 18 and 24°c. Bluegill trap net CPUE fluctuated widely, but electrofishing CPUE exhibited a bimodal pattern. Bluegill PSO for both gears only peaked in the spring of 1987, but peaked in the spring and fall of 1988. The mean length of bluegills sampled by electrofishing was inversely correlated (P < 0.01) with water temperature in 1987, while the reationship between water temperature and the mean length of trap-netted fish was curvlinear during both years. Bluegill relative weight (Wr) had significant (P < 0.01) interactions with time, areas, and size of fish. In general, bluegill wr decreased over time in all areas, but quality-length (> 15cm) fish were least affected. Largemouth bass Wr also decreased from spring to fall, perhaps as a result of high turbidity in the fall. Largemouth bass (cm) utilized greater amounts of invertebrates, plankton, fish eggs, and aquatic plants during fall than in spring or summer. Largemouth bass (>20 cm) almost exclusively ate fish and crayfish. Male largemouth bass tended to mature at a smaller length than females. Largemouth bass >267 mm (sexes combined) were mature 88% of the time. Largemouth bass began to mature at age II.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Largemouth bass--Habitat
Bluegill--South Dakota--Habitat
Fish stocking
Big Stone Power Plant (S.D.)


Includes bibliographical references (pages 93-103)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright 1989 Edward A. Bettross. All Rights Reserved.