U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, Technical Information Division
- A study of the movement of the channel catfish (Ictalurus
lacustris punctatus) was conducted in the Savannah River at the
plant of the U. S. Atomic Energy Commission in Aiken, Barnwell and Allendale Counties,
South Carolina. The aim of the study was to determine the extent and nature of
the movement of channel catfish in the river and one of its tributary streams,
Upper Three Runs.
- Data were collected in the field from June to December,
1953 and from April to September, 1954. Seven trapping stations were established,
three in the Savannah River and four in Upper Three Runs. At each of these stations
fish were captured, marked in a distinctive manner and released. Records of length,
weight, and mark applied or previous mark, if any, were kept.
- Several marking methods were used. Fish caught in
1953 were fin-clipped in a different manner at each station thereby alloying subsequent
recaptures to be identified as to their station of marking. Tattooing vas attempted
on a few fish in 1953 but vas discontinued after it proved impractical. In 1954
all fish caught were tagged with serially numbered Petersen-type tags. These tags
also bore a legend intended to prompt their return by fishermen who might catch
- Trapping success varied markedly between the two years;
1,475 channel catfish being marked in 1953 while only 369 were tagged in 1954.
A relationship vas noted between the catches and fluctuations in river level which
was assumed to account for the discrepancy in the catches of the two years.
- There was apparently complete absence of channel catfish
in late summer and fell in that portion of Upper Three Runs above the point where
river levels influenced the level of the stream. No catches of channel catfish
were made in this portion of Upper Three Runs after August 5, 1953 or July 31,
1954. This absence was substantiated by gill net sets made after these dates.
No channel catfish were caught in these nets.
- The movements of channel catfish may be classified
into three general types. First, movement within limited area during the normal
activities of the fish. The size of this area was not definitely determined, but
the date indicate that it may include from 0.5 to perhaps as many as 5.0 miles
of river.Included in this type of
movement was a tendency for fish to move into the lower portions of tributaries
during periods of high water. Second, there vas a definite upstream movement into
the tributary stream item the river in the spring. This movement occurred in May
and June of 1954. In 1953 trapping presumably was not begun until after this movement
had occurred. Subsequent to this upstream movement in the tributary, there was
downstream movement to the river which occurred in late spring and summer (June
and July of both years). Movement of channel catfish out of the tributary stream
at this time was substantiated by the previously mentioned apparent absence of
this fish in the stream in late summer and fall. It was speculated that this movement
was in some way related to spawning, but no evidence for this was available. Third,
there was apparently random, long distance movement to other parts of the river.
This was evident in 1954 from the return of tags by fishermen. Comparable data
were unavailable in 1953. No explanation for this type of movement had been found,
nor has it been possible to relate it to any environmental factor. The greatest
distances traveled were 67.9 miles downstream and 32.1 miles upstream.
- The rate of return of tags by fishermen was very high
for a study which involved no large commercial fishery. To date 12.2 percent of
the tags applied have been returned by fishermen. This high rate of return may
indicate a low population level, a high rate of exploitation, or some combination
of the two.
SREL Reprint #0077
Humphries, R.L. 1965. A study of the movements of the channel catfish, Ictalurus
lacustris punctatus, in the Savannah River and one of its tributaries within the
AEC Savannah River Operations area. U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, Technical Information
Division. TID 21791.
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