Effects of sucker gigging on riverine fish populations
January 2018 - December 2023
- Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
Sucker gigging is a cultural method of fish harvest throughout the Ozarks. Harvest during sucker gigging tournaments can be substantial (e.g., > 1,200 fish harvested in a weekend). Little is known about the effect of these fishing activities, but life-history characteristics of suckers (relatively long-lived and highly migratory) suggest these tournaments have the potential to affect fish communities over a large distance from the tournament locations . This study will evaluate the effects of sucker harvest on population dynamics in Spavinaw Creek and determine the harvest level at which overfishing would occur. This information is necessary to evaluate the possible need for harvest regulations on this cultural fishery to ensure sustainability of the fishery and ecosystem integrity.