The bulk of Lake Opinicon fish biomass is concentrated in the physically diverse inshore areas. Quantitative analysis of the community compositions of the various inshore habitat types (weedy inlets, sandy shallows, rock shelf, gravel, etc.) showed that each supported a characteristic assemblage of fishes with a relatively constant species and year class composition. This was maintained throughout the season despite a drop in fish biomass in late summer when there was a progressive movement into the offshore waters.
Weedbed areas supported the highest biomass, and greatest species and year class diversity. Thereafter, in declining order of richness, were rocky and sandy areas. A few fish species were restricted to single habitat types, e.g.Notropis heterodon to inshore weedbeds.Lepomis macrochirus, the commonest species in the lake was, by contrast, versatile and occurred in all inshore habitats. Commonly the numbers of a species in a habitat differed between day and night. Significant diel movements between habitats characterized two nocturnal feedersPomoxis nigromaculatusandIctalurus nebulosus.
Fish communities analysed, counts, censuses