Rates Of Angler Exploitation Of Largemouth, Smallmouth, And Spotted Bass In Center Hill Reservoir, Tennessee

A tag-and-reward procedure was used to estimate exploitation rates of black bass (Micropterussp.) during 1975 and 1976 in Center Hill Reservoir, Tennessee. Returns of reward tags by anglers indicated annual exploitation rates of 13.3 (22.2%) for largemouth ·(M. saltnoides), [2.9 (15.6%) for smallmouth (M. dolomieUl) and [4.8 (18.5%) for spotted bass (M. punctulatus). Within each year, exploitation rates were not significantly different between species or size groups. Rates were lower in 1976 than in [975 for all species, but the difference was significant only for largemouth bass. In [975, when tag reward values were publicly announced, most data suggested that tags with no reward value were returned at rates [ower than those observed for reward tags. In [976, when a random-reward procedure was used, differential rates of return were not detected. Monthly graphs of recaptures (R) expressed as a percentage of the total catch (C) from creel survey data indicated that tag loss and (or) differential mortality caused exploitation estimates based on 12 months of returns to be too [ow. If Rj C ratios had remained at levels similar to those observed during the first 2 or 3 months following tagging, rates of about 30% would have been observed for all species in both years. Comparisons of observed and adjusted exploitation rates with estimated rates of natural mortality indicated that overharvest of black bass is probably not occurring in Center Hill Reservoir.

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