Off-campus South Dakota State University users: To download campus access theses, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your South Dakota State University ID and password.

Non-South Dakota State University users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis through interlibrary loan.

Document Type

Dissertation - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

Michael L. Brown


yellow perch, habitat, population, mortality


Population dynamics (recruitment, growth, and mortality) of common yellow perch Perca flavescens population types have been previously investigated in South Dakota. Of these dynamic rate functions, mortality is the least understood for yellow perch populations in South Dakota glacial lakes. Total annual mortality has been previously quantified by researchers. However, total annual mortality is compensatory and does not quantify the separate contributions of both natural and fishing mortality. Thus, the means by which yellow perch are removed from a population remains poorly resolved. A better understanding of the components of yellow perch mortality would aid in the management of South Dakota yellow perch populations. The objectives of this study were to: 1) estimate population abundance, growth, size structure indices, fishing mortality, natural mortality, and total annual mortality for two yellow perch populations that exhibit divergent population dynamics; 2) evaluate correlations between population dynamics of yellow perch and environmental and biological variables for two yellow perch populations that exhibit divergent population dynamics; and 3) evaluate the stress physiology and energetics of yellow perch in relation to mortality for two yellow perch populations that exhibit divergent population dynamics. Researchers have documented two distinct types of yellow perch populations in South Dakota glacial lakes. Populations classified as higher quality are generally characterized by fast growth, large size structure, low population density, and inconsistent recruitment. Conversely, populations typically classified as lower quality are characterized by slow growth, small size structure, high population density, and relatively consistent recruitment. Study lakes were selected to represent these two population types commonly found in South Dakota shallow glacial lakes. Lake Cochrane (Deuel County) contains a slower growing, lower quality yellow perch population. Conversely, Lake Madison (Lake County) contains a faster growing, higher quality population. The proportion of quality length fish did not differ between study populations but the proportion of preferred length fish was greater for the Lake Madison population during all three years. Growth of the Lake Madison population was faster than the Lake Cochrane population. Lake Madison had more variable recruitment and greater total annual mortality than Lake Cochrane during the study years of this project. Sex ratios were biased toward females in both population types. Gender-specific survival and between year recapture rate models were supported by the data for both study populations. However, survival for females could not be estimated for either study population due to zero female recaptures during subsequent years. Yellow perch population abundance estimates based on the Schnabel method for Lake Cochrane were relatively similar across years whereas population abundance estimates were more variable across years for the Lake Madison population. Gender-specific estimates of both abundance and within year recapture probability using closed population capture-recapture models were supported for each population type and year highlighting the fact that genders must be modeled separately. Trap net within year recapture probabilities were greater for male yellow perch in both populations due to gender-specific spawning behavioral differences. To avoid biased population abundance estimates due to gender-specific spawning behavior and recapture differences, I propose using a sex ratio corrected population abundance estimate calculated using the male population abundance and the summer gill net sex ratio to estimate the female population abundance and then by addition, the combined population abundance. I suggest that sampling the recreational creel on faster growing yellow perch populations include the fall months to assess the importance of fall angler harvest. Not sampling fall months could significantly bias harvest estimates. For example in this study, 74, 79, and 83 percent of the annual yellow perch harvest occurred during September and October in 2005, 2006, and 2007, respectively, on Lake Madison. Conversely, not sampling the fall yellow perch harvest in slower growing populations may not bias yearly harvest estimates. In addition, angler harvest was size selective for larger yellow perch in both population types.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Yellow perch -- Mortality -- South Dakota
Fish populations -- South Dakota



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 2009 Casey Walter Schoenbeck. All rights reserved.