Effects of Angling on Largemouth Bass Population Structure in a Previously Unfished Mississippi Lake

Fishery data were collected from February to August 1984 for Bluff Lake, Noxubee County, Mississippi, to evaluate the effect of refuge areas and size and creel limits in reducing possible overharvest of largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) from previously unfished waters. During the study, 1,779 bass were marked and 150 were recaptured. The pre-fishing bass population was estimated at 7,657. Fishing mortality during opening weekend was 10%,525 parties who fished a total of 3,292 hours caught 361 bass (255 kg). Over the 6-month period, anglers fished a total of 48,796 hours and harvested 3,080 kg of bass. Largemouth bass accounted for 24% of the total weight of fish creeled; catch per hour was 0.04 kg. Although refuge areas and size and creel limits may have reduced the initial overharvest of bass during opening weekend, more than 40% of the bass population had been harvested by the end of the study and few legal-sized bass (;;'254 mm) remained.

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