the catfish yellow-mandi, pimelodus maculatus, is a valuable sporting and commercial fish of inland waters of southeast brazil including igarapava reservoir. it is a short-distance migrant that needs shorter stretches of free-flowing river to spawn compared to other neotropical migrants. igarapava reservoir is one the 13 hydroelectric reservoirs, arranged in a cascade fashion, impounding the 1,300 km-long grande river, se brazil. in this paper, we examined reproductive features and recruitment of the yellow-mandi in igarapava reservoir. we also evaluated the role of the igarapava fish ladder (ifl) built around igarapava dam on the sustainability of its fisheries. female adult yellow-mandis that were gill netted (nets of 8-20 cm stretch-mesh) during the reproductive season of 2002/2003, showed adequate ovarian development, indicated by the gonadosomatic index (12.9 ± 2.1, at mature stage) and absolute fecundity (413,794 ± 206,259; range = 125,601-742,026), which were higher than those found in the literature. postovulatory follicles present in ovarian tissue of 32% of the females examined showed that they possibly could have spawned in the reservoir area. gill nets of 3-5 cm stretch-mesh aimed at capturing juvenile yellow-mandi were unproductive. these results indicated that igarapava reservoir and its reduced catchment area did not provide adequate conditions for recruitment of the yellow-mandi. this fish, the most abundant in the ifl, and those reaching the reservoir tended to remain there since no upstream passage mechanism is present. thus, the ifl apparently was responsible for maintaining the igarapava reservoir stock of yellow-mandi.