Effects of Supplemental Feeding and Management On Channel Catfish in a Kansas Impoundment

Monday, September 9, 2013
Governor's Hall I (trade show) (Statehouse Convention Center)
Jeff Koch , Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism, Pretty Prairie, KS
McPherson State Fishing Lake is a 46-acre reservoir in central Kansas that maintains a popular and intensively-managed channel catfish fishery (i.e., high supplemental feeding and stocking rates with restrictive harvest regulations).  However, effects of this management strategy on the population and fishery have not been evaluated.  Supplemental feed (sinking fish food, 26% protein) has historically been applied at a rate of 300 lbs/surface acre.  Feed was applied at a rate of 75 lbs/surface acre in 2010-2012 to determine whether feeding rate influenced channel catfish size structure, condition, or growth.  Results indicate that there have been no changes to these population metrics in response to decreased supplemental feeding.  The historic harvest regulation of no minimum length limit (MLL) and a 10-fish daily creel has been gradually restricted several times, eventually in favor of a 15” MLL and two-fish daily creel.  Comparisons of creel data collected throughout regulation periods suggest that size structure, total harvest, and average size of harvest has increased since more restrictive regulations were enacted.