Largemouth Bass Population Trends in Two Texas Reservoirs with LMBV-attributed Die-offs

Largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) die-offs attributed to largemouth bass virus (LMBV) occurred during 1998 at Sam Rayburn Reservoir and 1999 at Lake Fork, Texas. We assessed largemouth bass electrofishing catch per unit effort (CPUE), mean length at age 3, relative weight (Wr), and angling success before (pre-LMBV) and after (post-LMBV) fish kill periods to address concerns that LMBV had negatively impacted the largemouth bass populations and fisheries at these two popular Texas reservoirs. There was no decline in angling catch rates, mean length at age 3, or Wr in the post-LMBV period for either reservoir. Only electrofishing CPUE at Lake Fork was significantly lower post-LMBV. However, it was difficult to establish a definitive causal link between this difference and LMBV. Results suggest that prolonged adverse effects from the LMBV-disease events at these two reservoirs were not likely.

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