Trophy Largemouth Bass Regulations at Victor Braunig Reservoir, Texas

The largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) fishery and population structure at Victor Braunig Reservoir, Texas, were monitored from 1985 through 1992 following changes in harvest restrictions from 254-mm minimum length and 10 fish daily bag limits to 533-minimum length and 2 fish daily bag limits. Harvest rates were significantly reduced under the more restrictive limits and averaged 0.002 fish/angler-hour. Mean weight of harvested fish increased from 0.85 kg to 3.22 kg. Total catch rates ranged from 0.145 to 0.650 fish/angler-hour; the weighted mean annual catch rate during the study was 0.337 fish/angler-hour. Catch rates of fish ≥533 mm averaged 0.004 fish/angler-hour. Proportions of larger fish in the creel increased throughout the study. Electrofishing surveys showed increases in relative proportions of fish ≥381 mm, and relative abundance of fish ≥203 mm increased after 1989. Mean lengths-at-capture of age-1 fish declined, but relative weights remained above 100 for fish of all sizes. Results suggested relatively few largemouth bass recruited to lengths ≥533 mm. Under the experimental regulations, the largemouth bass fishery failed to provide anticipated catch rates of trophy (≥3.2 kg) fish, but did provide a quality catch-and-release fishery in terms of weight of fish caught per hour.

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