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Assessing Distribution and Movement of Blue Catfish in Kansas Reservoirs

Kayla Gerber, M.S. Student
Zach Peterson, M.S. Student
Dr. Martha Mather
Jason Goeckler, KDWPT
John Reinke, KDWPT

Project Supervisor
Dr. Martha Mather
Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism
Milford Reservoir
December 2015
Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism
Kansas State University
Determine distribution and seasonal movements of the blue catfish in a large reservoir.
Assess correlates of this distribution.
Progress and Results
In the first year of this project, both graduate students have written proposals for their research that meet the standards of the KSU Division of Biology, Biology 863, a course required of all incoming graduate students. We have met and discussed the project with KDWPT on a number of occasions. The graduate students have completed first aid and MOCC training. We have developed and tested tagging protocols for hatchery blue catfish. In this test, we inserted dummy acoustic tags in 12 blue catfish and held them with 12 untagged controls for 7 days in raceways at Milford Hatchery, KS. All fish (tagged and controls) survived for the study duration. The insertion site for the tagged fish healed well and tags remained within the coelomic cavity. In June, 2012, we tagged 48 blue catfish in Milford Lake. Biologists from KDWPT captured wild blue catfish using boat electrofishing. KCFWRU personnel inserted VEMCO V9 acoustic tags. To detect these tags, 20 stationary receivers were deployed throughout Milford Lake. Throughout the summer of 2012, we will collect movement data on blue catfish using stationary receivers and active tracking. These data will be combined with a spatially explicit map of temperature, bathymetry, current velocity, and prey (fish and invertebrate).

Kayla Gerber, Martha Mather, Joseph Smith and Zach Peterson. 2014. Distribution and movement of predators in a heterogeneous aquatic ecosystem. Graduate Student Research Forum, Division of Biology, Kansas State University.

Gerber, K. M., M. E. Mather, Z. Peterson, J. M. Smith, J. Reinke, J. Goeckler. 2012. Where are those $$#@@ fish?; Distribution and movement of a top predator (blue catfish) in a large, highly-variable Midwestern reservoir. Midwest American Fisheries Society Meeting, Wichita, KS.

Peterson, Z., K. Gerber., M. E. Mather, and J. Smith. 2012. Quantifying spatially-explicit patterns in a large reservoir: an approach for determining associations between a top fish predator and physical habitat. Midwest American Fisheries Society Meeting, Wichita, KS. Poster