Distributions of Largemouth Bass in Relation to Submerged Aquatic Vegetation in Flat Top Lake, West Virginia

Abundance and, to a lesser degree, size distributions (in 1 of 2 sample years) of largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) were influenced by the presence of submerged aquatic vegetation in Flat Top Lake, West Virginia. Relative abundance and size distributions of adult largemouth bass (≥200 mm in length) were compared among high, intermediate, and low densities of submerged aquatic vegetation in September-October 1986. Largemouth bass were more abundant at high and intermediate vegetation densities than at low densities, but no differences in size distribution were noted among vegetation levels. In June and August 1987, the relative abundance and size distributions of all sizes of largemouth bass were compared between high and low vegetation densities. High vegetation contained significantly greater numbers of largemouth bass. Largemouth bass lengths were smaller in high vegetation samples, primarily due to a higher proportion of age-O fish in these areas. Vegetation was an important habitat component to largemouth bass in Flat Top Lake, and could be managed to improve largemouth bass fisheries.

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