Angler Exploitation of Largemouth Bass ≥356 mm at Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Texas

Tournament-caught largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) were tagged and released in Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Texas, in early spring 1989 and 1990. Studies conducted on a sample of these fish indicated 4% initial mortality and 94% tag retention. Angling contests were held for 15 weeks (1 April-15 July) each year to recapture fish. Recapture rates by contest anglers provided estimates of exploitation over the 15- week period. Voluntary release of bass was 52%-57%. The estimated exploitation rates for 15-week periods in 1989 and 1990 were 0.27 and 0.47, respectively. Increased angling vulnerability of tagged fish could have had a positive bias on exploitation rates. Increasing fishing effort and harvest over a 5-year period suggest exploitation has not been detrimental to the fishery. Techniques used in this study required only minimum effort and expense.

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ID
25616