Nest Success, Abundance, and Length Distribution of Age-0 Largemouth Bass in Sanctuaries and Areas Open to Fishing
Vic DiCenzo1, *, Bradley A. Ray2, Michelle Klopfer1, Brian R. Murphy1
1 Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, 310 West Campus Drive Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA 24061, Virginia, United States
2 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Escanaba Lake Research Station 3110 Trout Lake Station Boulder Junction, WI 54512, United States
Protecting an area from fishing by establishing a sanctuary is one possible management strategy that could protect adults during spawning, potentially enhancing recruitment in freshwater systems. From 2001-2006, Briery Creek Lake (342 ha), Virginia was characterized by high fishing pressure in spring when adults were spawning and low abundance of age-0 Largemouth Bass Micropterus salmoides. Therefore, we created two sanctuaries in 2006 in Briery Creek Lake that were closed to angling and boats; these areas provided protection for nest-guarding male Largemouth Bass. However, the nest-success rate did not differ significantly between open areas and sanctuaries (30-40% nest success). Catch per unit effort of age-0 Largemouth Bass did not differ between areas open to angling (28.8/h and 39.0/h in 2006 and 2007, respectively) and sanctuaries (14.6/h and 22.2/h in 2006 and 2007, respectively). Similarly, mean length-at-capture was not different for age-0 Largemouth Bass between sanctuaries and open areas. Closing spawning areas to fishing may not be an effective management option to increase Largemouth Bass recruitment success in Briery Creek Lake.
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