Voluntary Release of Largemouth Bass by Florida Anglers

Angler survey data indicated that voluntary release rates for largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) ranged from 8% to 85% for 11 Florida lakes surveyed during 1989 with a mean of 40%. Nine lakes surveyed during the past decade showed an increase in voluntary release, indicating the practice may be becoming more popular. Lake Tarpon anglers released 85% of their bass catch, and 97% of those anglers stated conservation was the reason for not keeping fish. No harvest of bass <30 em was documented at Lake Tarpon, which supports the notion that in Florida most anglers release smaller bass. However, the level of release of quality-size bass at Lake Tarpon was unprecedented. A major factor in this unusual occurrence was the lake's highly urbanized location.

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