Electrofishing Catch of Largemouth Bass: Spatiotemporal Variation and Relation to Angler Catch

Fisheries Outstanding Technical Paper

I examined spring and fall electrofishing catch rates of largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) in 12 Texas reservoirs from 1986 to 1992 to assess the relative importance of spatial and temporal variation and to evaluate the relation between electrofishing catch rates and future angler catch. East Texas reservoirs were characterized by relatively greater temporal (i.e., annual) variation in electrofishing catch rates, whereas west Texas reservoirs tended to exhibit greater spatial variation. Reservoirs in east Texas shared a common temporal pattern in electrofishing catch rates. Conversely, there were marked differences in catch rates among west Texas reservoirs that remained relatively stable across years. The relation between electrofishing catch rate and angling success was poorer than expected. Spring electrofishing yielded most of the significant correlations with future angler catch, particularly in east Texas reservoirs. However, correlations were generally weak and of limited predictive value. Given that improving or increasing angler catch is often the goal of management actions, such actions should probably be assessed directly using creel surveys rather than electrofishing catch-perunit-effort. Substantial regional (east vs. west Texas) differences in electrofishing catchper-unit-effort, and in the relation to angler catch, suggested that a regional approach to largemouth bass management in Texas might be appropriate.

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