Recreational Fishing for Black Bass in Eastern Oklahoma Streams

We evaluated recreational fishing for black bass (Micropterus) species in two eastern Oklahoma streams. We conducted creel and tagging exploitation studies on the Baron Fork of the Illinois River in northeastern Oklahoma and Glover River of the Little River in southeastern Oklahoma. We used a roving creel survey on Baron Fork and the bus-route creel survey on Glover River. Over three years, exploitation rates of smallmouth bass in Baron Fork exceeded those in Glover River by about 30% and for all black bass by about 7%. Catch and harvest per unit effort, fishing pressure, and yield on Baron Fork exceeded those of Glover River. The smallmouth bass (M. dolomieu) fishery in Baron Fork was characterized by high catch and harvest rates, and yield was among the highest reported in the literature for smallmouth bass stream fisheries. Conversely, the fishery in Glover River was typified by lower catch and harvest; however, the average length of smallmouth bass at harvest was greater. Spotted bass (M. punctulatus) and largemouth bass (M. salmoides) made up a substantial proportion of the catch and harvest in Glover River but proportionately less in Baron Fork. Size and bag limit regulations were implemented on the black bass fisheries in these streams in 2003, and our findings support these regulations. However, stream anglers in these streams need to be re-surveyed to evaluate the effectiveness of the regulations as well as angler compliance and satisfaction.

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