Blue Catfish Management

Discussion in 'LOCAL KANSAS TALK' started by Calvin, May 16, 2006.

  1. Calvin

    Calvin New Member

    Messages:
    365
    State:
    Kansas
    I just read an interesting article in the ODWC site about a study they have been doing on the growth rate of blue catfish in their lakes. They have been collecting data on abundance and growth rates for blue catfish for several years. What they have found is incredible. Its no secret that blues grow slowly compared to other sportsfish. But I was amazed at how slow their growth rate actually is. As one might expect the lakes with the best growth rates are Kaw, Keystone, Texoma, and Waurika. The best was Keystone. A ten year old blue cat from Keystone was 25 inches long whereas a ten year old Texoma blue was 23 inches long. Even in the fastest growing lakes it takes 12-14 years to produce a ten pound blue! An average 10-12 pound blue from most water is about thirty inches long. The largest fish sampled weighed 48 pounds and came from Texoma. The fish was 16 years old. This might indicate that after they attain 10 years of age they accelerate in growth rate. But then I found out the oldest fish in the study was 24 years old. It was only 19 inches long!
    While reading this information I couldn't help but think about the wisdom of Jim Leonard, who pulls no punches in his belief that all larger blue cats should be released. The biologists' findings in Oklahoma would lend support to Jim's contention. I also can't help but wonder about the growth rates of Kansas Bluecats. How old are those twenty-five pound Milford blues? Will I live long enough to see a 30 pound blue come from El Dorado? A fish biologist told me it takes an average Kansas flathead 18 years to reach 60 pounds. How long will it take his blue counterpart to attain the same size?
    To a certain extent I have always practiced catch and release on bigger fish. But I think I may think twice about keeping many fish over ten pounds from now on.
    Oklahoma has demonstrated the common sense to know a good thing when they see it. They have excellent bluecat and flathead populations and still manage them well by having flexible laws. Kansas, on the other hand, seems to consider catfish as somehow lesser trophies than the scale fish. I wish they would understand how important catfish are to so many of the state's fishermen. Anyone interested in reading the article can find it on the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation in the section on non-resident fishing licenses.
     
  2. brad kilpatrick

    brad kilpatrick New Member

    Messages:
    2,666
    State:
    Kansas City
    wow!!!!! I knew that they grew slow, But I had no idea that they grew that slow. I've always realesed My bigger fish only keeping a few Smaller fish here and there for the dinner table. I'm glad I've been CPRing for years now.

    I wonder how old the Blue in My avatar is??? and Yes She's still swimming.
     

  3. catfishcentral

    catfishcentral New Member

    Messages:
    1,497
    State:
    OK
    That is a good study that there doing and even in the same lake there can be really big variances in the size of the same age fish. I've seen some reports of Oklahoma bluecats where say Keystone for example may have many bluecats say that are 10 pounds and ten years old. Now in that same body of water they find ten year old fish that are 15 to 20 pounds also. There's some fish bumping the trend in each lake by some pretty big margins. I really wanted to know about some other smaller lakes around me on age growth rates and contacted the ODWC and now I'm collecting fish heads in my freezer for some growth studies. I think the final report when it comes out will really open some eyes and better learn about our bluecats.
     
  4. Catfish Fever

    Catfish Fever New Member

    Messages:
    4,548
    State:
    Wside, Mil
    Calvin, thanks for the support. I think some of the folks around here are starting to realize what they've done in the past couple of years concerning the big Blues. That's all you hear now, "You catching any big Blues? I haven't heard of many being caught this year yet" There's been a couple, but of course they were kept too. You'll have to be extremely luck to catch a 10 plus anymore, whereas 3 or 4 years ago, I usually caught any where from 15 to 20 Blues over 10 to over 20. Even caught an occasional Channel over 20. What they need here is a slot limit to preserve the big gals and also the little ones under two so they get a chance to get big enough to spawn.
     
  5. kscatman

    kscatman New Member

    Messages:
    204
    State:
    LAWRENCE,KS
    I agree guys, release the big fish. In most lakes and rivers around kansas there are plenty of channel cat for the dinner table.
     
  6. retired stump jumper

    retired stump jumper New Member

    Messages:
    115
    State:
    KANSAS
    I have fished for cats for over 70 yrs. & I never even thoughtn about groth rate until now. I was taught to release all fish. Just keep what I wanted to eat I do not like frozen fish, if I`m not going to eat them in a day or two release them back into the water. Besides the smaller fish are better eating I do not keep channel over 3lbs. nor will I keep a flat over 10 lbs. So my friend thanks for the info. & I think all our brother fisherman in the BOC welcome the info. too.
     
  7. jim

    jim New Member

    Messages:
    2,579
    State:
    Jacksonville NC
    Thats an interesting study and we should realize that growth rates are the product of a number of factors not just "Time".If I remember right SPLASH was a relatively young fish that hadn't reached full potential yet.The study is applicable to those waters and doesn't necessarily apply across the board and I'm sure that as you go further north and the water gets colder the growth rate would slow somewhat.The key for the future of catfishing is to get them designated as gamefish so they can be managed as necessary.CPR is NOT the perfect remedy for all situations or even a good option for some waters.It does give one a good feeling to release all that you don't need however.I found that once I started releasing fish be it trout, bass,or catfish my "Pleasure "level went way up because I wasn't trying to compete against a limit or anybody.I enjoyed myself far more and even if the fish got off it didn't bother me.Since I was more relaxed,and having more fun, my fishing also got better and the enjoyment factor went way up.:smile2: :big_smile:
     
  8. center12

    center12 New Member

    Messages:
    1,444
    State:
    KS
    Good read Calvin, sure is an eye opener!!

    KDWP was fast to put length limits on crappie in specific lakes, why can't the same be done for Milford Blues?? Seems to me that the folks at Milford have built something worth protecting in it's fishery. I bet Milford draws more "tourism" dollars than any other lake in KS............blue cats are part of the reason for that!!
     
  9. Calvin

    Calvin New Member

    Messages:
    365
    State:
    Kansas
    I'd like to get my hands on the entire report. I am going to contact ODWC and see if its available. I know there are undoubtably many factors that figure in to how fast a fish grows. DNA is probably a big part of it also. Just like people, some are slow to develop and some are a little quicker.
    I can't help but think the shad population would have a bearing on the bluecat population.
    El Dorado has a 35" length limit on blue cats. The only problem I have with that is that too many of these SC Kansas fishermen don't really know the difference between a blue and a channel. They think they do, but they don't.
    that's not a knock on anybody. Its just that we haven't ever had blues around here and unless they have fished someplace that has blues they often mistake an old chuckle headed channel for a blue cat. Its going to take a lucky bluecat to grow 35 inches in El Dorado.
     
  10. MealsOnReels

    MealsOnReels New Member

    Messages:
    54
    State:
    Kansas
    Thanks for the information Calvin.
    I had no idea what the growth rate was, never really thought much
    about it to be honest. We now have a disposable camera that we are going to leave in the boat.
    Thanks Again
     
  11. kscathunter

    kscathunter New Member

    Messages:
    2,367
    State:
    Louisburg,
    I seem to remember reading a study on river blues. from what i remember they tagged a blue down south near the gulf on the mississippi by the time it reached st lewis less than a year later it had gained 6lbs:cool2: