Crappie Population Characteristics Relative to Inundation of Floodplain Habitats in Reservoirs
Dagel, Jonah Dennis
Catch rates of age-0 and adult crappies Pomoxis spp. were compared between floodplains and coves to determine if differences in densities existed between habitats, and to determine if water levels influenced density relationships. Habitat in a cove and a floodplain of Enid Reservoir was mapped to describe differences in vegetation. Adult crappies were collected with electrofishing and age-0 crappies were collected with trap nets. Coves had the greatest spring densities of adults in 2009 and 2010, whereas floodplains attracted adults earlier in the spawning season. Recruitment of age-0 crappies was related inversely to high water levels during months preceding the spawning period, but related directly to high water levels during the spawning period. Floodplains had the greatest densities of age-0 crappies in most years and reservoirs. These results suggest that management to improve recruitment could focus on timing of water level rises and protection of floodplain habitats.