Date of this Version
The Prairie Naturalist· 42( 112): June 2010, pp 1-7
Channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) are native to Lake Sharpe, a Missouri River mainstem reservoir, and are common in angler catches. Channel catfish growth has declined since the formation of the reservoir in 1963. Mean lengths at time of capture for channel catfish ages 9, 10, II, and 12 have decreased by 69, 55, 115, and 21S mm, respectively, since impoundment. The objective of this study was to document monthly food habits of channel catfish throughout the growing season (May-August) in Lake Sharpe to assess potential effects of diet on growth. Although channel catfish consumed both macro invertebrates and fishes as expected, they also consumed large quantities of submergent aquatic vegetation. Consumed vegetation contributed 3S-73% of the diet by weight over 2 channel catfish length groups «2S0 mm and ~2S0 mm total length) during the 4 months sampled. Consumption of substantial amounts of vegetation should be considered a suboptimal diet for channel catfish growth. Consequently, diets of channel catfish in Lake Sharpe could be a factor contributing to the observed slow growth of older catfish in this population.