James Bristow

Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

VIMS Department/Program

Marine Advisory Program (MAP)

Publication Date



Fishery Resource Grant FRG 2010- 14


The project tested a different way to commercially fish for catfish in the tidal rivers, while allowing by-catch and smaller catfish to escape. Ten traps were constructed of coated wire mesh and steel rod, equipped with an entry funnel, and fished alongside three strings of trot-lines in the same area and times. The test period covered September and October 2010 over a period of warm weather when salinity changed dramatically from 10 ppt to zero and water temperatures eased downward from 68 degrees to 60 degrees.

The trap design and all boat modifications operated as designed with only a few adjustments necessary. Basic fishing observations included salinity, water temperature, air temperature, turbidity, tidal information, visibility, sky conditions, and a few others. Lengths and weights of the fish were recorded for a sample of the catch. Catfish were consistently captured in the traps baited with menhaden but poorly so on the trot-lines, with a ratio of approximately ten to one. The catch was predominately blue catfish, with very few channel catfish and white catfish mixed in. Other fish species were non-existent in traps or on the lines.


Fishing gear, catfish



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