• age distribution;
  • blue sucker;
  • Cycleptus elongatus;
  • growth;
  • mortality;
  • size structure

Abstract  Blue sucker, Cycleptus elongatus (Lesueur), populations have declined because of habitat degradation and overharvest, and little information exists on the population characteristics and stock dynamics of this species. We examined size and age structure, mortality, growth and condition of blue sucker in the Wabash River, Indiana–Illinois, USA. A total of 356 fish collected by electric fishing from June 2003 to April 2006 ranged from 238 to 775 mm total length and 85 to 5288 g wet weight. Age ranged from 3 to 16 years and annual mortality ranged from 22 to 25%. Annual growth was greatest among younger age classes (range 48–141 mm yr−1) and declined after age 6, likely at the onset of reproductive maturity. Variation in the relative condition factor (range 66–141) was heteroscedastic over the size range of fish sampled, perhaps attributable to seasonal differences in reproductive condition among mature fish.