In October of 1998 the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources stocked age-0 [mean total length (MTL) = 178 mm] and age-1 (MTL = 273 mm) hatchery-reared largemouth bass into two embayments of the Ohio River. Stocked fish were fitted with both an anchor tag and a visible implant elastomer mark. A multifaceted sampling approach was undertaken to (1) evaluate the persistence of stocked largemouth bass, (2) estimate fidelity of stocked largemouth bass to release sites, and (3) compare return rates of the two age classes. Although stocked largemouth bass comprised the majority (81%) of all bass captured in electrofishing surveys of the stocked embayments during fall 1998, catches declined rapidly during winter 1998, and by spring and summer 1999 stocked largemouth bass were virtually absent from electrofishing surveys. Creel surveys indicated no catch of stocked largemouth bass in the release sites after winter 1998. Electrofishing surveys, creel surveys, and angler call-ins all suggested stocked fish did not persist and either moved out of the stocked embayments or died. The results suggest that stocking advanced-size largemouth bass into these embayments only provided a limited and short-term enhancement of the fishery in those areas.
Additional publication details
Relative persistence and dispersal of age-0 and age-1 largemouth bass stocked into two Ohio River embayments