Contribution of Striped Bass to the Fishery of Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

Lake of the Ozarks, a 60,000 acre reservoir built in 1931 by the Union Electric Company in west-central Missouri, was chosen for an introduction of striped bass since it offered the best chance for establishing a naturally perpetuating fishery in Missouri. Fingerling striped bass were reared and stocked each year from 1967 to 1974 with the exception of1972. The effects of these introductions upon the existing fishery were monitored by a creel census conducted from March to November, 1967-1973. Fishing pressure in the two census areas ofthe lake ranged from 35.5 to 63. 7 hours per acre in the Niangua Arm and from 10.4 to 25.9 hours per acre in the Osage Arm. The average number of fishing trips per acre per year was 18.5 for the Niangua Arm and 5.4 for the Osage Arm. Fish harvest and catch rate were estimated and ranged from 42,000 (0.61 fish per hour) to 138,000(1.11 Hsh per hour) fishes caught in the Niangua Ann and from 15,600 (0.40 fish per hour) to 164,000(1.69 fish per hour) fishes caught in the Osage Arm. White crappies, white bass, channel catfIsh, and bluegills made lip about 90% of the catch from both arms. Striped bass were first observed in the creel in 1971. Most of the 41 stripers reported or observed were taken from the clearest water areas of the lake and from the tailwater. Fishing success, in general, was positively correlated with water clarity; the clearer water provided a better catch. Stocking densities were considered too low to adequately evaluate the introduction of striped bass. Those that were stocked apparently did not adversely affect the harvest of other fishes. The completion of Harry S. Truman Dam above Lake of the Oxarks will undoubtedly preclude the establishment of a self perpetuating striped bass fishery since the river characteristics needed for spawning will be permanently altered.

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