Paul Piavis, Fisheries Biologist
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Posted on February 27, 2013 | Permalink
Fisheries Service Verifies Blue Catfish in Choptank River
Location: Choptank River
Fisheries Service’s Resident Species Project sets and fishes fyke nets in the Choptank River from Martinak SP downriver to Kingston Landing. While we were out setting nets on Friday, a commercial catfish potter hailed us to his boat where he showed us the blue catfish that he has been catching. Most of the catch has been in the 12 – 16 inch range. This is the first documented catch of blue catfish from the Choptank River. Blue catfish are non-native and they are voracious predators. These fish can drastically alter the ecology of a river system. Not only can they directly harm native fish populations by preying on popular sport and commercial fish (think white perch, yellow perch, crappie and sunfish), they can also disrupt the food chain by preying on forage fish that native species rely on. The public is reminded that it is illegal to transport invasive species alive.
We fished out nets for the first time today (2/25/2013). Catches of yellow perch were fairly strong, especially given that the water temperatures were still below 40 degrees. A large percentage of the catch was greater than 10 inches. The females were still “tight”, that is, not ready for spawning quite yet. We also had one of our biggest hauls of black crappie. There must have been a good spawn and recruitment event recently because the majority of the crappie were around seven inches with a few 9 and 10 inchers thrown in. White perch were abundant in the lower nets, and the grade was exceptional also. Large white catfish were also common in our lower nets.