In recent years, gars and Bowfin have gained recreational value and are commonly targeted for both food and sport. However, the data needed to understand the population dynamics of these species in Illinois is lacking, limiting resource agencies’ ability to effectively manage this emerging fishery. Therefore, we aim to evaluate the relative abundance, size structure, body condition, and stock characteristics of gars and Bowfin throughout Illinois. Beginning in March 2015, we sampled fish using DC boat electrofishing, gill netting, fyke netting, and hoop netting from the Wabash and Lower Illinois River Basins. We sampled 856 fish in the Wabash River Basin (429 Longnose Gar, 342 Shortnose Gar, 43 Spotted Gar, and 42 Bowfin) and 574 in the Lower Illinois Basin (28 Longnose Gar, 315 Shortnose Gar, 50 Spotted Gar, and 181 Bowfin). Here we describe our preliminary findings from the Wabash and Lower Illinois River Basins and discuss the expansion of our future research, which will include populations from all Illinois watersheds. The information gathered from this study will inform managers of population parameters needed for the development of sustainable management strategies.
|Title of host publication
|146th Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society
|Published - 2016