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Habitat Management: Thinking Big All anglers would probably agree that habitat is important for bass fisheries, and
 

Summary: Habitat Management: Thinking Big
All anglers would probably agree that habitat is important for bass fisheries, and
habitat management is one of the most challenging issues facing fisheries management
agencies. Let's explore the options for resource agencies to improve and maintain
quality habitat for bass fisheries. I believe it's time to think big.
Managing habitat is an upcoming challenge for fisheries agencies because our
reservoirs are aging. Most reservoirs in the US were built prior to 1970, and through time
the quality of habitat has often declined. Last year I conducted a study with Randy
Myers, a biologist from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. We analyzed catch
occurrence of 13-lb. and larger largemouth bass in Texas. We found that one of the best
predictors of a lake producing at least one 13-lb. or larger fish was reservoir age, and
older reservoirs were less likely to produce these fish compared to younger lakes. That's
a simplified part of the story, and certainly older reservoirs do produce trophy fish (see
below), but the lower occurrence of trophy bass in older reservoirs likely results from
lower overall habitat quality. Complex habitat from submerged trees and brush found in
new reservoirs deteriorates through time, leaving shorelines that provide little protection
for juvenile fishes, including largemouth bass.
There are exceptions to the argument that older reservoirs don't contain quality
habitat. Aquatic plants have become established in some reservoirs and improved the
habitat for fish. Aquatic plants can cause problems with lake access and fishing quality

  

Source: Allen, Micheal S. - Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, University of Florida

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology