Age, Growth, and Mortality of Florida Largemouth Bass Utilizing Otoliths

Age composition, growth, and mortality of largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides floridanus) populations in 6 major Florida resources were determined. Most largemouth bass were in the first 4 or 5 year classes; however, 6 and 7 year old fish were not uncommon, and largemouth bass up to 12 years of age were collected. Females grew faster and exhibited greater longevity than males. Total annual mortality (A) estimated from catch curves ranged from 0.37 for the Suwannee River to 0.54 in Lake Weir and was within the range reported from other localities. Backcalculated lengths based on transversely sectioned otoliths did not differ significantly (P < 0.05) from empirical lengths for largemouth bass from Lake Kissimmee. Florida largemouth bass typically reached harvestable-size (>242 mm) during age 1+, but slower growing fish did not recruit into the sportfishery until age 2 or older. Trophy-size largemouth bass (>3.63 kg) ranged from 6 to 12 years of age.

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