4.4 - Age Structure


The age structure of a population is the result of recruitment and mortality (fishing and natural). Age structure is most useful as an indicator of mortality and may be our best indicator of recruitment, although it takes 1 to 2 years for a year class to show an effect. The management objective for age structure is at least 10% of the population comprised of Age-3 and older crappiei. Colvin and Vasey (1986) used percentage of Age-4 and older as an indicator of age structure for Missouri’s crappie populations. Boxrucker (1989) found the highest mortality of Oklahoma crappie to occur before Age-3. Current data indicates Arkansas’ annual mortality is similar, therefore, the percentage of Age-3 and older crappie (excluding Age-0 fish) is used to assess age
structure.

Higher assessment values are assigned to age structure when growth is good. An adequate forage base as indicated by good growth will allow for a higher density of older, larger fish. High age structure (>25% of adult fish 3+ or older) indicates strong recruitment, relatively low angler harvest, and a higher proportion of larger fish when growth is good. Low age structure (<10% of adult fish 3+ or older) combined with good growth indicates relatively high angler harvest, high natural mortality, and/or missing year-classes. Inconsistent recruitment and single year-classes moving through the
population most likely cause variability in age structure within a lake.

Information Provided by Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

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A device that converts electrical energy to sound energy, or the reverse. Typically associated with depth finders or fish finders.

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