Effects of an Increased Size Limit for Largemouth Bass in West Point Reservoir

The minimum legal size of largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) was increased from 305 to 406 mm in 1983 on West Point Reservoir to indirectly increase young-of-the-year recruitment by gizzard shad (Dorsoma cepedianum). Fish collections from 1982 through 1987 indicated that largemouth bass increased in abundance in response to the regulation change and their population structure shifted toward larger sizes. Concurrently, gizzard shad size distribution shifted downward. It appeared that the increased size limit for largemouth bass resulted in increased forage through increased gizzard shad recruitment. A survey of the sport fishery in 1984 and 1985 indicated effort and harvest similar to that before the regulation change.

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