Grass pickerel diet and habitat selection in Indiana rivers and streams
Grass pickerel were collected in rivers and streams throughout Indiana for diet analysis. Frequency of occurrence, mean percent volume, and relative importance index were calculated for diet from all grass pickerel stomachs containing food. Grass pickerel were divided into three size classes (57-95mm, 96-150mm, >150mm) and stomach contents were divided into four groups (insects, fish, crayfish, and other). Grass pickerel in the small size class consumed mostly fish and crayfish while in the largest size class mostly crayfish were ingested. In addition, habitat selection was identified for grass pickerel. Macro and microhabitat were evaluated and described using the Qualitative Habitat Evaluation Index and visual assessment. Grass pickerel selected habitat with slow moving water and instream cover of either logs/woody debris or aquatic macrophytes.