Evaluation of a Trophy Bass Length Limit on Lake Fuqua, Oklahoma

Changes in largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) and forage populations were analyzed in Lake Fuqua, Oklahoma, following its designation as a Trophy Bass Lake. A 356-558 mm slot limit for bass was established in 1990 after anglers reported catching many large bass, including a state record. The electrofishing catch-per-hour (C/f) of bass >355 mm in 1993 (C/f = 24) was significantly higher than in 1989 (C/f = 7). The abundance of bass >508 mm also increased significantly from 1989 (C/f = 1.4) to 1993 (C/f = 5.0). The electrofishing C/f of trophy bass (>558 mm) did not change. Relative weight values declined for bass in the slot range and gizzard shad {Dorosoma cepedianum) became rare by 1993. A recommendation was made to raise the slot range (to 406-585 mm) to allow harvest of abundant bass and further protect potential trophies. Certified Florida bass (M. s. floridanus) stockings at Lake Fuqua in 1990 and 1992 increased the percentage of sub-adult bass with Florida alleles by 1993.

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