Stocked Versus Native Flathead Catfish

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by john catfish young, Aug 21, 2008.

  1. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    State:
    Kentucky
    The following article is from the Jan. 08 issue of In- Fisherman. I found the info to be quite puzzling. Not sure about why the big difference!
    Quote: Research in action-Alabama researchers compared flathead populations and angling harvest in the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers in Alabama and the Ocmulgee and Satilla rivers in Georgia. Flatheads are native to the Alabama rivers; those in the Georgia rivers were introduced within the last twenty years.
    Flatheads reached 28 inches in length in 4.8 years in the ocmulgee and 4.4 years in the Satilla, but it took 16.5 years and 19.0 years, respectively, to reach that size in the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers. Flatheads in the Coosa didn't reach 14 inches until their sixth year, while those in the Ocmulgee exceeded this size in their second year. The data also shows that Flatheads can sustain rapid growth rates for more than twenty years.
    Introduced Flatheads appear to grow much faster than native fish, but this difference may be due to heavier angler harvest and below capacity Flathead populations in stocked rivers, rather than genetic differences or water fertility. Data suggest more anglers fish for Flatheads in the two Georgia rivers, and computer modeling shows that high harvest rates would have a greater impact on introduced populations than on native populations. Although total removal of Flatheads seems impossible, the researchers predict that introduced populations not protected by a 20- inch minimum size limit might be significantly reduced by heavy fishing pressure, with mostly small catfish remaining.
    The introduction of non- native predators or prey fish often offers both benefits and downsides. To some, the angling value of large Flatheads exceeds the value of the preyfish and sportfish they consume. Others, who prize redears or other sunfish that Flatheads feed on, strongly disagree.
    :crazy::crazy::crazy:
     
  2. uttatoo

    uttatoo New Member

    Messages:
    1,797
    State:
    greatbend kansas
    i dont know what the difference is except that in some places people think flatheads need to be eradicated and in some they need protection


    i for 1 would put flatheads in every warm water river and creek in the united states and watch everyone have fun :wink:
     

  3. slikk03

    slikk03 New Member

    Messages:
    2,507
    State:
    illinois
    I AGREE ID LIKE TO SEE ALL CATS OVERUN THE RIVERS LIKE ASIAN CARO, BLUES AND FLATS, AND CHANNELS, ID MOVE TO A BOAT
     
  4. Blacky

    Blacky New Member

    Messages:
    10,351
    State:
    Philadelphia, P
    The flatheads I catch in the Schuylkill are invasive.

    The Fish and Boat Commission used to reccomend killing them, but now they realize that the flatheads are here to stay.

    I'm mighty glad they are here in Philly.
     
  5. patrickgd

    patrickgd New Member

    Messages:
    809
    State:
    Memphis TN
    Flatheads are at the Top of the food chain in any fresh water locale. The only fish I know of that feeds on Flathead is another Flathead.
     
  6. patrickgd

    patrickgd New Member

    Messages:
    809
    State:
    Memphis TN
    I'm not sure where they were going with the research other than saying the introduced fish or non-native grew allot more rapidly. If the question is Why?? I would say look at the "stock" that the introduced fish came from. Perhaps the "strain" is from a fish that evolved in a very large river system where the Flats by nature feed more heavily. Or perhaps the systems that the introduced fish lived just had allot more forage and food supply. Or perhaps just less competition for food, due to many reasons, greater fishing pressure potentially being one. Sounds like more tests to me :smile2:.
     
  7. Blacky

    Blacky New Member

    Messages:
    10,351
    State:
    Philadelphia, P

    Patrick,

    Imagine yourself in the middle of a giant buffet! That's what a invasive flathead feels like in thier new homes. There are plenty of carp, bass, sunfish, eels, walleye, striper, muskies, suckers, goldfish and whatever the heck swims around to eat. This may sound stupid but I think the fish don't naturally recognize the flathead as a threat to eat them. Easy meal for shovelhead. Imagine a dog who has never seen a tiger.

    Fish are the only animals that continue to grow and keep eating throught thier whole lives. In their new homes full of food, they have plenty to eat. They eat and grow very quick.

    They have supposedly been in the Schuylkill for about 11 years and fish in the upper 30lb class ahave been caught more often this year.
     
  8. germanmudfish

    germanmudfish New Member

    Messages:
    492
    State:
    Gray, GA
    I have red something on a more general level about introduced flathead catfish and blue catfish growing rapidly when introduced to non native water systems. What I read did not offer a solution. Logic dictates, that it is either or a combination of food available and/or water chemistry.
     
  9. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    State:
    Kentucky
    I was wondering if maybe the fish that were used to get the eggs or fry from....if they were somehow super, giant flatheads in their prime. Some studies have shown that in any given species of fish there is a small percentage of them that grow at a much faster rate than the average for that species. I read an article one time about Tennessee and stripers stockings and how they were trying to seperate the super fish from the average fish and thus by stocking nothing but the super fishes fry and having a population that grew at a much faster rate and grew to much larger sizes. I also wonder if they are experimenting with the genetics of these fish??????? Anyway, just some food for thought:big_smile:
     
  10. patrickgd

    patrickgd New Member

    Messages:
    809
    State:
    Memphis TN
    That makes allot of sense Blacky. If the fish (flathead food) in the non-native water system have'nt had to deal with them throughout time they would be sitting ducks. On the contrary fish in the native system that has coexisted with Flathead for thousands of years would no doubt be much better at surviving with them. Great point Blacky!
     
  11. Blacky

    Blacky New Member

    Messages:
    10,351
    State:
    Philadelphia, P

    According to the fish in the non-native waters, they are nothing more than a uglier friendly carp with whiskers. They have learned nor yet fear the flathead. They simply do not recognize the flats as danger. TALK ABOUT EASY PICKIN!

    The fish where the flats are native know how to deal with them and avoid them. The fish in the native waters know the survival skills in them rivers.

    Glad I can help!
     
  12. BassMassey

    BassMassey Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,883
    State:
    Oconee
    I've read quite a bit on this subject also. As the lake I live near is upstream roughly 150 miles from where they say shovelheads were first "illegally" introduced into the Georgia non-native shovelhead waters. Talking to locals here they say flatheads and blues just started showing up in the lake roughly 10 years ago. From what I've read they say any invasive species will likely thrive, or else quickly die off. If you notice there's been an explosion of non native flatheads up and down the eastern seaboard. Flatheads aren't native to any Atlantic drained watershed! Now look at em.....they are in the altamaha in Georgia, multiple rivers in the carolina's that come to the top of my head......Cooper, PeeDee, Cape Fear, I think I heard the Potomac has them now, the James in VA, them boys in Philly are catching them on the skuke, I wouldn't be suprised if they showed up next on the Hudson in NYC. I hope to get back to philly sometime......I would love to go to Pats to get a cheesesteak before i head out to chase some shoveheads....
     
  13. BassMassey

    BassMassey Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,883
    State:
    Oconee
    I beleive when flatheads are first introduced they reproduce more aggressively until they colonize the entire watershed. I know in some rivers the DNR had done studies and said these non-native flatheads are growing in record rates and showing up in record numbers. I think it's their instict as a top end predator to "take over" over the river. I do think they eventually hit an apex and once they've been in these waters for a long while and they will start growing and reproducing more like native shovelheads. I don't know if I'm right or wrong.....but I'm glad they're here!
     
  14. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    State:
    Kentucky
    Thats a very interesting hypothesis......thanks!:big_smile:
     
  15. kenlaw76

    kenlaw76 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,323
    State:
    S.E. Pa.
    All I know is they are getting big fast in the Skuke. I can't wait to see it in 5 more years:crazy:
     
  16. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    State:
    Kentucky
    In five more years ...they can reach some monstrous sizes....good luck and go break the record!!!!!!