Assessment of Range, Habitat, and Movement Patterns of Flathead Catfish (Pylodictis olivaris) in a Midwestern River Using Ultrasonic Telemetry

Wednesday, September 11, 2013: 2:40 PM
Pope (Statehouse Convention Center)
Sarah Huck , Biological Sciences, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL
Cassi J. Moody , Biological Sciences, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL
Les Frankland , Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Robert E. Colombo , Biological Sciences, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL
Flathead catfish are one of the most sought after game fish in the Mississippi River basin; however, little is known about their range and movement patterns.  Ultrasonic telemetry was used to determine ranges, habitat preference, and diel movement patterns of flathead catfish in the Wabash River.  In 2012, 24 catfish were collected at three sites using DC boat electrofishing.  Coded 69 kHz ultrasonic tags were implanted into the body cavity and secured to the pectoral girdle of each fish.  We actively tracked the lower 170 miles of the river monthly and followed two fish for a continuous 24 hours each season.  At each location, habitat, substrate, and water quality parameters were determined.  We have made a total of 99 observations from 16 different individuals, 10 of which were located on more than one occasion.  The majority of catfish were found near logjams (52%), either near an outside bend (40.91%) or an open channel border (45.45%).  Flathead catfish had ranges from 59 meters to 2,303 meters (average= 803.9 meters).  We found an increase in variation of distance moved after sunrise and continuing until midnight, followed by restricted movement patterns between midnight and sunrise the following day.