Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Phil Lienesch (Director), Dr. Steve Huskey, Dr. Scott Grubbs

Degree Program

Department of Biology

Degree Type

Master of Science


Populations of largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides, and bluegill, Lepomis macrochirus, were evaluated from five pit-lakes in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, to determine if accurate proportional stock density (PSD) data can be obtained from a mandatory creel survey. It was hypothesized that the proportion of stock-to-quality (300-400mm) and quality (+400mm) largemouth bass from four years (2007-2010) of creel survey data would be statistically similar to those generated through on-site sampling in 2011. Fish were collected via a combination of gill netting, seining, hook-and-line fishing, and boat-mounted electro-fishing. In two of the pit-lakes, the sampling-generated length frequency data was not significantly different from the creel survey data (Pump Gadj[1]=0.03, P=0.8629, Goose Gadj[1]=0.76, P=0.3850). There were significant differences between creel and sampling data for the other pit-lakes (Big Reno Gadj[1]=5.74 P=0.0166, Airstrip Gadj[1]=14.3 P=0.0002, Lime Gadj[1]=9.81 P=0.0017). At least one of the lakes likely demonstrated significances because of low sample size (Airstrip and/or Lime). Changes in population structure due to modified harvest regulations may be responsible for the significant differences (Big Reno and Lime). Population structures were verified with relative weight, length-at-age, and an assessment of five years of largemouth bass and bluegill PSD data. It appears that creel survey data does accurately reflect that of simple sampling techniques and can help guide management decisions.


Aquaculture and Fisheries | Biology | Marine Biology | Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology