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Fisheries Section Research Reports and Abstracts

Investigation of the Trout Fishery in the Chattahoochee River Below Buford Dam

Project number: F-66
Study: XXVII
Final Report Date: January 2003
Period Covered: July 1, 1998 - June 30, 2001
Author: Lisa Klein

Study Objectives
  1. To determine the suitabilty of the Plymouth Rock strain of brown trout in the Chattahoochee River.
  2. To determine total mortality of stocked rainbow and brown trout and ascertain an optimum river stocking rate based on creel and electrofishing data.
  3. To collect current demographic data on river anglers.

Hatchery and field performance of Plymouth Rock and Walhalla strain brown trout (BNT; Salmo trutta) were evaluated during 1998 to determine suitabilty for stocking in the Chattahoochee River, Georgia. The Walhalla strain performed better than the Plymouth Rock strain in the hatchery and field.

During 2000, mortality of stocked catchable (> 228 millimeters (mm)) rainbow trout (RBT; Oncorhynchus mykiss) and BNT was evaluated in the field using marked fish. Condition of both species declined after stocking. Annual mortality for RBT and BNT was 69% and 87%, respectively. Natural mortality was considerably higher than fishing mortality for both species. Exploitation rates for both species were below 17%. 

Harvest in the creel survey was dominated by RBT. The typical angler chose to spinfish, used artificial lures, was under 40, fished the river more than 20 times a year and spent a minimum of $100 on river fishing trips each year.

Temperature, turbidity and dissolved oxygen were measured during the creel survey. Correlations were noted between RBT catch per unit effort (CPUE) and these water quality parameters. There was no significant correlation between BNT CPUE and water quality.

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