One hundred and twenty five sites from 91 rivers and streams in Indiana were evaluated from 1990–2005 to determine grass pickerel Esox americanus vermiculatus habitat use. Macro-habitat analysis was conducted using the Qualitative Habitat Evaluation Index (QHEI) and had no significant relationship with grass pickerel catch. However, the individual components that made up the QHEI metric of “pool/glide and riffle/run quality” were significant and showed that grass pickerel avoided riffle habitats. At selected (n = 9) stream sites, microhabitat analysis indicated grass pickerel were always associated with either aquatic macrophytes or logs/woody debris. Although the Index of Biotic Integrity has been used to infer overall stream health and community fish quality, this index was minimally related to grass pickerel catch. The results of this study suggested that grass pickerel preferred habitat types in Indiana streams of aquatic macrophytes, logs/woody debris and slow moving water.
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Vol. 160 • No. 1