Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Robert Hoyt, Gary Dillard, Larry Gleason

Degree Program

Department of Biology

Degree Type

Master of Science


Age and growth parameters of paddlefish from Lake Cumberland were investigated from September 1983 through July 1984. Sex ratios observed were 60 percent male and 40 percent female. The average total length for all paddlefish was 135.3 cm with fish captured in net tackle having a smaller body size than those caught on snag lines. Fish from the Cumberland River exhibited a greater mean body length than those from other parts of the lake, and females were longer than males. The average body weight was 11.8 kg and showed similar trends as body length. Net-captured paddlefish weighed less than those caught with snag lines; fish from the Cumberland River and Lake Cumberland were heavier than those from the South Fork, and females were heavier than males. Growth in length was greatest in the third year of life. The greatest growth in weight of males occurred between the second and third years and decreased thereafter with the exception of the ninth year. Growth of females was highest in the fifth year and remained high until the ninth and tenth years. Females attained the greatest body size in winter and spring; males showed their greatest average size in the spring and summer.

A total of 12 age groups was observed in the paddlefish population in Lake Cumberland with Age Groups V and VI dominating the age structure. The longevity of male paddlefish was less than that of females.

Different body growth responses were observed for males and females. Males had length-weight "n" exponent values of 2.08 and 2.65 for total length and eye-fork length, respectively which was lower than that of females. Length-weight "n" values for total paddlefish in Lake Cumberland were 3.12 for total length and 3.01 for eye-fork length. Coefficient of Condition values verified the faster, earlier growth of males and faster, later growth by females. Rostrum length averaged 27 percent of the total body length. Growth in rostrum length was closely related to growth in body length.

The average survival estimate for paddlefish from Lake Cumberland was 68 percent, with recruitment of significant numbers into the yearly harvest starting at Age VI.


Biology | Life Sciences

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