The Declining Largemouth Bass Fishery in the Ocmulgee River, Georgia

The largemouth bass(Micropterus salmoides) fishery in the Ocmulgee River, Georgia was studied to address concerns about overexploitation. A significant decline occurred over time in overall success, fished-for success, and average weight of largemouth bass in the creel. The annual exploitation rate was calculated to be 0.11 and was estimated in the year of low bass harvest. The annual survival rate was calculated to be 0.47. A Kolmogorov-Smirnov two sample test showed a significant decrease in the percent frequency of larger bass in electrofishing samples from fall 1976 to fall 1978. The high bass harvest from spring 1976 to fall 1977 is believed to be the primary cause of decline in the bass fishery. Low bass recruitment to harvestable size also contributed to the decline. Management strategies for enhancing the bass fishery include stocking of advanced fingerlings and better enforcement of the 305 mm size limit.

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