Natural Resources, School of



William J. Radigan

Date of this Version



Fish Manag Ecol. 2022;00:1–13.

DOI: 10.1111/fme.12596


This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License,


Paddlefish, Polyodon spathula (Walbaum), provide an important snagging and bowfishing fishery below Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota. During 2009–2020, snagging catch rates of paddlefish decreased below Gavins Point Dam to presumed “normal” lower pre-2004 levels, while bowfishing catch (harvest) rates significantly increased during 2000–2020. Because Paddlefish are highly migratory, both local (i.e., monthly gauge height, precipitation, and air temperature near Gavins Point Dam) and remote (difference in Mississippi and Missouri River discharge near their confluence) environmental conditions were used to explain variation in snagging catch rates and bowfishing harvest rates. Snagging catch rates were related to October gauge height, whereby deeper water in October led to decreased catch rates below Gavins Point Dam. Bowfishing harvest rates increased significantly after a 2016 regulation change moved the season from July 1 to July 31, and from June 1 to June 30, likely because water clarity was greater in June than in July. Mean annual air temperature and precipitation explained variation in bowfishing harvest rates prior to the 2016 regulation change. Our findings, the first to examine both snagging and bowfishing fisheries below Gavins Point Dam, suggest that local abiotic factors are likely more important than remote discharge for explaining variation in snagging catch rates and bowfishing harvest rates in the channelised Missouri River.