The Occurrence and Abundance of the American Eel in Freshwater Streams of Maryland: Final Report March 1974 - October 1976

From March 1974 through October 1976, a study was conducted on eleven freshwater streams in Maryland to determine the American eel (Anguilla rostrata) population and the occurrence of elver migrations. Three of these streams were located within the Potomac River drainage. The other eight streams were located within the upper Chesapeake Bay drainage. One stream from the 1974 study was re-investigated for two additional years in an effort to obtain yearly comparison of eel population. This stream, Perch Creek, is a tributary to the Elk River and is located in Cecil COunty. The purpose of this study was to provide managers with information that would help them in making decisions concerning the management of the American eel. The study also included anadromous, resident, and other finfish species found associated with eels. Numbers and pounds per acre were calculated for each species collected. The American eel was documented at each site sampled during the survey. At all sites, the eel was the most numerous species present. The maximum number of eels per acre, calculated from collections was 3436.40. This collection occurred at the Gasheys Creek site located within Harford County on April 29, 1974. The greatest number of collected specimens were elvers, which comprised 89% of the population in this stream. The maximum pounds per acre of eels collected was 125.52. This occurred at Southeast Creek which is located in Queen Anne's County on April 30, 1976. Elver traps that were set in Island Creek and Mills Branch indicated an elver migration only in Mills Branch. Elvers were documented by the elver traps in this stream from April 1 to May 1, 1975. During the three year study, each site was sampled five times. Thirty-four finfish species were documented at seven sampling sites during 1974; 22 species were collected at three sampling sites during 1975; and 32 species were collected at three sampling sites during 1976. A complete listing of these species for each year sampled is contained in the Appendix section of this report. Only one of these streams, Rock Run, was located in the piedmont province. This sampling site was established during the 1974 survey. There were 19 species collected throughout the five sampling periods on the stream. This survey corresponded to the same areas as anadromous fish investigation. Spawning migrations of anadromous and estuarine fish species were documented in Mills Branch, Island Creek, Unicorn Branch, and Southeast Creek, which are all located within Queen Anne's County. The white perch (Morone americana) and alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) were documented in Mills Branch; alewife, white perch, and yellow perch (Perca flavescens) in Island Creek; blueback herring (Alosa aestivalis) and white perch in Unicorn Branch; and white perch and yellow perch in Southeast Creek.
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