Comparison Of Growth Rates And Abundance Of Largemouth Bass In Selected North Carolina Coastal Rivers

Age-growth relationships, length-weight relationships, and relative abundance ind ices were determined for largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) collected from the Cape Fear, Chowan, Pasquotank and Tar-Pamlico river systems in North Carolina during 1976. Largemouth bass in the Pasquotank River had the highest mean annual growth rate during their first and second years when compared to those in the other river systems studied. Largemouth in the Tar-Pamlico River system had the highest mean annual growth rates for age groups III and older. The growth rate of the Chowan River largemouth population was intermediate between those of the Pasquotank and the TarPamlico rivers, while populations in the Cape Fear River had the slowest growth. Largemouth bass in the Chowan, Pasquotank, and Tar-Pamlico rivers attain legal harvestable size and recruit into the fishery at 305 mm in total length during their fourth growing season. The Cape Fear River largemouth population did not reach this harvestable size until the fifth growing season. Largemouth bass were found in order of decreasing abundance in the Chowan, Cape Fear, Tar-Pamlico, and Pasquotank rivers.

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