Factors Related to the Genetic Composition and Fishing Quality of Largemouth Bass Fisheries

The Florida subspecies of largemouth bass (Micropterus s. floridanus) has been widely stocked throughout the southern United States, including Texas. Quantifying the success of these stockings has been difficult. In this study, relationships among large scale genetic, biological, physical, and limnological variables, and measures of fishing quality and trophy were examined in 89 Texas reservoirs greater than 202 hectares. No relationships among stocking measures and any genetic variable were detected. In general, oligotrophic reservoirs in South Texas had significantly higher measures of Florida introgression compared to eutrophic reservoirs in North Texas. Largemouth bass growth rates increased from west to east and as elevation decreased. Angler success variables measuring number of bass caught were negatively related to longitude, whereas angler success variables related to size of bass caught were more influenced by local reservoir-specific variables. Anglers generally caught larger fish in large, shallow, young reservoirs with higher measures of Florida introgression. The results of this study do not provide clear answers to current questions surrounding Florida largemouth bass stocking allocation in Texas reservoirs. Microsatellite analysis is a newer technique to determine genetic makeup that promises to improve our understanding of the impact of stocking and genetics on largemouth bass fisheries in Texas reservoirs.

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