Comparison of Larval vs. Fingerling Hybrid Striped Bass Stockings in Lake Sam Rayburn, Texas

Success and cost effectiveness of stocking larval vs. fingerling hybrid striped bass (o Marone chrysops X o M. saxatilis) were evaluated at Lake Sam Rayburn, Texas. Stocking success was evaluated using gill net catch rates of age-2 hybrids, mean length of hybrids at age 2, and relative annual mortality of stocked individuals. Hatchery production and stocking cost of larvae and fingerlings were compared. There was no significant difference between gill net catch rates of age-2 hybrids stocked as larvae vs. fingerlings. However, age-2 hybrids from larval stockings were significantly larger than those from fingerling stockings. Relative annual mortality of stocked larvae was significantly higher than for fingerlings. Stocking costs for larvae were less than half those for fingerlings. The lower cost per age-2 recruit and faster growth of hybrids stocked as 3-day-old larvae justified stocking larvae over fingerlings in Lake Sam Rayburn and could provide significantly lower costs for establishing a hybrid striped bass fishery in any reservoir.

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