Population Characteristics and Management of Black Bass in Eastern Oklahoma Streams

We surveyed black bass (Micropterus spp.) populations in Baron Fork in northeastern Oklahoma and Glover River in southeastern Oklahoma during 1994 and 1995 to assess population characteristics and management options particularly for smallmouth bass (M. dolomieu) in eastern Oklahoma streams. Smallmouth bass dominated the catch of black bass species in both streams during both years. The fishery potential for smallmouth bass in Glover River was limited in part by low abundance, poor year-class success, and high annual mortality resulting in low recruitment to older ages. In contrast, smallmouth bass in Baron Fork were abundant, exhibited good year-class success, and low annual mortality. Growth of early-age smallmouth bass was similar between streams. These differences in population characteristics may be attributable in part to the stable flow regime and nutrient enrichment from agricultural activities in Baron Fork compared with the flashy flow regime and sedimentation from silviculture activities in Glover River. Management of smallmouth bass and other black bass populations in eastern Oklahoma streams will require a combination of regionally-specific harvest regulations, stream habitat restoration projects, and improved watershed management practices to maintain and enhance these fishery resources.

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