Mortality and Growth of Young-of-year Wild Largemouth Bass following Stocking of Hatchery-reared Fingerlings

Stocking hatchery-reared largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) fingerlings to supplement wild populations is a common practice, but assessment of the influence of such stocking practices on the wild population is less common. In September 2007 and 2008, we estimated abundance of wild young (age 0 and age 1, respectively) largemouth bass in backwaters of the Arkansas River before and after stocking with hatchery-reared largemouth bass (100-150 mm TL). Two backwaters were sampled as reference populations, four backwaters were unstocked for comparison with stocked locations. Five backwaters were stocked with 60 fish/ha. We found no differences in mortality, length, weight, or condition of wild age-1 largemouth bass from stocked and unstocked backwaters. Stocking hatchery-reared largemouth bass did not appear to affect mortality, growth, or condition of the wild year class.

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