Comparison of Growth of Selectively Bred and Resident Largemouth Bass in Texas Small Impoundments

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) began the ShareLunker program (currently sponsored by Toyota) in 1986 to promote public involvement in the management of trophy largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides; LMB) fisheries in Texas. The program provides anglers an opportunity to donate trophy LMB (≥ 5.9 kg) to a selective breeding and stocking program managed by TPWD, with the goal of increasing the production of trophy-sized fish in Texas reservoirs. Although the program was known to be successful at promoting trophy LMB fishing in Texas, it was not known whether selective breeding results in growth advantages and subsequent increases in the likelihood of producing trophy-sized LMB. We assessed the efficacy of the Toyota ShareLunker program by comparing length and weight of age-4 ShareLunker LMB stocked as fingerlings with age-4 naturally produced resident LMB in six small impoundments. ShareLunker offspring were significantly heavier than resident cohorts (1.19 kg versus 0.99 kg, respectively), but not significantly longer. Our results suggest that the stocking of selectively bred LMB may be an effective tool to enhance trophy LMB production in populations.

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