Channel Catfish Survey at Parker Canyon Lake
The Arizona Game and Fish Department conducted a hoop net survey targeting Channel Catfish at Parker Canyon Lake. The survey was completed this past August. The goal of the survey was to evaluate the reintroduction of Channel Catfish that were stocked in 2012 and 2013. Previously Channel Catfish were stocked into the lake as a put-and-take fishery; however stocking ceased in 1995 due to budgetary constraints. After stocking stopped, the Channel Catfish population declined. Fisheries Biologists noted that catfish spawning habitat was marginal in the lake. Therefore, in 2016, 30 spawning barrels were placed around the lake in hopes of creating a self-sustaining population of Channel Catfish.
The survey uses hoop nets to target Channel Catfish because electrofishing and gill netting are less successful at targeting Channel Catfish. Hoop nets are about 11 feet long, with seven hoops and two “throats”. The “throat” of the net is easy for a fish to swim through, but difficult for them to swim back out of which captures the fish. Three hoop nets connect together, baited with waste cheese (byproduct of cheese making process) and set in shallow water. Channel Catfish use their extraordinary senses to find the cheese and then become trapped in the nets. After pulling the nets we measure, weigh, determine the sex, and release all fish.
We caught a total of 76 Channel Catfish! We also caught 232 Yellow Bullhead, 95 Bluegill Sunfish, 37 Redear Sunfish, 22 Green Sunfish, and 2 Largemouth Bass. Channel Catfish ranged between 18 – 31 inches and 2 – 14 pounds. The survey results suggest, the stocked Channel Catfish are doing well in the lake. Parker Canyon Lake still holds the inland waters hook and line state record for a channel catfish weighing 32 pounds and measuring 39 inches caught in 1987.
If you liked this post, learn about the Roosevelt Lake Flathead Catfish Fall 2016 results at A Day in the Field: Roosevelt Lake Flathead Catfish Survey Results for Fall 2016! Also check out the latest Flathead Catfish Electrofishing Video from Roosevelt Lake!
To learn about the Lake Pleasant Flathead Catfish Fall 2016 results and go to A Day in the Field: Lake Pleasant Catfish Survey Results for Fall 2016! Also check out another Flathead Catfish survey video from Lake Pleasant Fall 2016!