Shifting Genetic Composition of Largemouth Bass Populations in Dendritic Arms of Two Large Arkansas Reservoirs Through Stocking of Florida Largemouth Bass

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has been annually stocking Florida largemouth bass (FLMB, Micropterus salmoides floridanus) at rates of 250 fish ha-1 into small dendritic sections of two large Arkansas reservoirs, Lake DeGray and Lake Ouachita, since 2006 and 2007, respectively, to alter local pre-existent northern largemouth bass (NLMB, Micropterus s. salmoides) populations. The management goal for these actions is to have 40% of the local largemouth bass (LMB) population possessing FLMB alleles within eight years of the initiation of the stocking program. Microsatellite analysis of ~1200 LMB were performed prior to and post stocking three and five years for Lake DeGray and three years for Lake Ouachita populations to measure progress towards this management goal. Stocked FLMB represented 2%-3% of sampled fish for both lakes. Following five years of stocking FLMB into Lake DeGray, 10% of the sample was identified F1 LMB. Overall, the incorporation of FLMB alleles as measured by changing q-values into the native populations for both lakes has been slow (1.5-2.0/yr). Nonetheless, both reservoirs demonstrate ~ 25% of LMB containing FLMB alleles and appear to be moving towards the management goal of 40% established by the AGFC.

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