Food Of Angler Harvested Largemouth, Spotted And Smallmouth Bass In Bull Shoals Reservoir

Stomachs from angler-harvested specimens of 259 largemouth bass, Mieropterus salmoides, 263 spotted bass, M. punctulatus, and 256 smallmouth bass, M. dolomieui were collected from the mid-lake region of Bull Shoals Reservoir during March 1971 - February 1972. Stomach contents were compared on the basis of frequency of occurrence, weight, and seasonal distribution of food items. Black basses were piscivorous in feeding habits during the summer and early autumn, with young of the year shad contributing substantially to the diets. Utilization of young shad by adult basses followed shad spawning by six to eight weeks. During late autumn and in the spring, food habits of the three species varied. Largemouth bass stomachs contained primarily crayfish and centrarchids during the late autumn and crayfish, yearling shad and unidentified fish remains during the winter and spring months. Spotted bass fed primarily on crayfish throughout the period. Smallmouth bass stomachs contained centrarchids and crayfish during the late autumn and winter, and non-burrowing mayflies (Stenonema sp.) and unidentified fish during the spring. Total black bass production in Bull Shoals during the twentieth year of impoundment appeared to be primarily dependent upon c1upeid and crayfish availability.

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