An intensive seven-year removal of adult, juvenile, and young-of-the-year smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) from a north temperate lake (Little Moose Lake, New York, USA) resulted in an increase in overall population abundance, primarily due to increased abundance of immature individuals. We developed a density-dependent, stage-structured model to examine conditions under which population control through harvest could result in the increase of a targeted species. Parameter values were derived from a 54-year data set collected from another north temperate lake (Lake Opeongo, Ontario, Canada) smallmouth bass population. Sensitivity analyses identified the demographic conditions that could lead to increased abundance in response to harvest. An increase in population abundance with harvest was most likely to occur when either (i) per capita recruitment at low levels of spawner abundance was large, juvenile survivorship was high, and maturation of age-4 and older juveniles was moderately high or (ii) per capita recruitment at low levels of spawner abundance was slightly lower, yet the maturation rate of age-3 juveniles and adult survivorship were high. Our modeling results together with empirical evidence further demonstrate the importance of overcompensation as a substantial factor to consider in efforts to regulate population abundance through harvest. ?? 2008 NRC.