An Overview of Fishery Resources in Mainstem Habitats of the Mississippi River

Wednesday, September 11, 2013: 9:00 AM
Marriott Ballroom B (The Marriott Little Rock)
S. Reid Adams , Biology, University of Central Arkansas, Conway, AR
Harold L. Schramm , Mississippi Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, U.S. Geological Survey, Starkville, MS
David P. Herzog , Big Rivers and Wetlands Field Station, Missouri Department of Conservation, Jackson, MO
We review major recreational and commercial fishery resources in the main channel and channel border zone in the following reaches of the Mississippi River:  Upper Mississippi River (UMR; St. Anthony Falls, MN to Alton, IL), Middle Mississippi River (MMR; Alton, IL to Cairo, IL), and Lower Mississippi River (LMR; Cairo, IL to Head of Passes, LA).  A system of locks and dams has transformed the UMR into a series of 26 navigation pools largely resembling lakes during low discharge.  Habitats ranging from main channel and tailwaters to vegetated backwaters support diverse fisheries.  Common recreational species include percids, esocids, moronids, ictalurids, and centrarchids.  Carps, catostomids, ictalurids, and paddlefish (Polyodon spathula) comprise commercial fisheries.  In contrast, the MMR and LMR are mainly characterized by flowing water habitats.  Ictalurids and moronids support recreational fisheries, and ictalurids, paddlefish, catostomids, and carps are targeted by commercial fishers.  Longitudinal differences in fish species and abundances are due to a combination of species’ range limitations and habitat differences among reaches.