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Satilla River Flathead Catfish Project

Additional Information

Blue Catfish Removal

While the FRP was created with the intended purpose of removing flatheads from the Satilla, a second non-native species has been discovered in the river during removal efforts. In May 2011, GA DNR staff captured a single blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) while conducting flathead removals in the Satilla (Bonvechio et al. 2012). Though it is believed that flathead introduction into the Satilla occurred due to illegal stocking by anglers in the mid 1990’s, blue catfish introduction into the river likely occurred when fish migrated to the Satilla River via the intercoastal waterway during high water periods. 

A total of seven blue catfish were recovered from the Satilla River in 2011 and two individuals showed up in an access creel survey in 2014. In 2016, a notable spike in blue catfish recruitment was observed with several dozen juvenile individuals being captured, including a gravid adult. Nonetheless, as a large catfish that can exceed 100 lb as an adult, the potential exist for this non-native fish, like the flathead, to have negative implications on native species. As a result, GA DNR staff continue to monitor the blue catfish population in the Satilla while removing all specimens observed during sampling efforts.

Literature Cited

  • Bonvechio, T.F., D. Harrison, and B. Deener. 2009. Populations Changes of Sportfish Following Flathead Catfish Pylodictis olivaris Introduction in the Satilla River, Georgia. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies: 63:133-139.

  • Bonvechio, T.F., M.S. Allen, D. Gwinn and J. S. Mitchell. 2011. Impacts of electrofishing induced exploitation on flathead catfish Pylodictis olivaris population metrics in the Satilla River, Georgia. Pages 395-408 in P. H. Michaletz and V. H. Travnichek, editors. Conservation, ecology, and management of catfish: the second international symposium. American Fisheries Society Symposium 77, Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Bonvechio, T. F., B. Bowen, J. Mitchell, and J. Bythwood. 2012. Nonindigeous range expansion of the blue catfish Ictalurus furcatus Leseur in the Satilla River, Georgia. Southeastern Naturalist 11/2, 2012.

  • Flowers, H.J., T. F. Bonvechio and D. Pederson 2011. Observation of an Atlantic Sturgeon Acipenser oxyrinchus eaten by a flathead catfish Pylodictis olivaris. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 140:250-252.

  • Jackson, D. C. 1999. Flathead catfish: biology, fisheries, and management. Pages 23-35 in E. R. Irwin, W. A. Hubert, C. F. Rabeini, H. L. Schramm, Jr., and T. Coon, editors. Catfish 2000: proceedings of the international ictalurid symposium. American Fisheries Soceity, Symposium 24, Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Marshall, M. D., M. P. Holley, and M. J. Maceina. 2009. Assessment of the flathead catfish population in a lightly exploited fishery in Lake Wilson, Alabama. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 29:869-875.

  • Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). 2016. Flathead Catfish (Pylodictis olivaris). http://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/species/catfish.

  • Weller, R. R., and C. Robbins. 2001. Food habits of flathead catfish in the Altamaha River system, Georgia. Proceedings of the Annual Conferences Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies 53(1999):35-41.

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