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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

Charles R. Berry


The objectives of this 'study were to determine the population characteristics and habitat preferences of the channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus in the lower James River, South Dakota. Length, weight, and pectoral spines were collected from 327 channel catfish captured with hoop nets and trotlines. The mean hoop net catch rate (l.35 ± 0.25) was lower than mean catch rates for other rivers in the Midwest, indicating that a low density population exists in the lower James River. The sample was dominated by stock and quality length channel catfish (PSD=63±3) which showed above-average growth and condition (�=81) in comparison to other Midwest populations. The estimated total annual mortality (26%} and annual fishing mortality (3.8%) was lower than estimates for other Midwestern populations indicating low angler exploitation in the lower James River. Adult channel catfish monitored by radiotelemetry used complex structural cover types (large snags and rock darns} significantly more (Chi-square=48.83, df=4, P=0.0001) than their availability. Channel catfish used depths between 1.1 and 2.0 m significantly more (Chi-square=58.95, df=6, P=0.0001) than their availability. Channel catfish primarily utilized substrates of silt and sand and water velocities less than 0.20 m/s. Diel differences in the selection of habitat variables were not noted. Mean total standing stocks of fish collected by electrofishing and seining were greater in complex woody cover types than in open water areas. My research indicated that channel catfish and other fish species in the lower James River are attracted to complex habitats. Protection and restoration of these habitats will be important in future management of all fish species in the lower James River.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Channel catfish -- James River (N.D. and S.D.) -- Habitat
Fish populations -- James River (N.D. and S.D.)


Includes bibliographical references (page 43-49)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 1992 Stephen J. Kubeny. All rights reserved.