Supplemental stocking of Largemouth Bass
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Posted on Sunday Sep 9, 2012 at 10:16 AM  
When ALL of the literature I read discounts supplemental stocking of already established sunfish lakes WHY does ODWC spend limited resources stocking places like Skiatook with supplemental Largemouth Bass?

Not that I am against good largemouth lakes and catching them, but spending the bucks on rearing ponds and labor to grow them to above fingerling size then releasing them into a VERY MARGINAL largemouth habitat like Skiatook, seems like a misuse of funds to me.

Skiatook has had poor recruitment of bluegill, and other small sunfish because it does not grow moss stands to support such sunfish. If it has poor recruitment for Largemouths primary forage it stands to reason it will never be a good largemouth lake in its old age, no matter how much $$$$$ is thrown at it.

Conversely Skiatook COULD be a superb Smallmouth lake were supplemental stocking done for them, and Walleye stockings would also work.

Just seems to me funds could be better spent --

Heck spending that money planting submergent vegetation and carp reduction would be a better choice if ODWC wants largemouth to do better there.

Just my anecdotal non- scientific opinion.


Those who would give up constitutional freedoms to elected officials in exchange for a false sense of security, deserve neither freedom or security.
Posted on Monday Sep 10, 2012 at 10:31 PM  
Kurt if you don't mind I will answer this one because I OK-ed the recent bass stockings and the nursery pond agreement.

Tony I don't think you got the whole story. The stocking was not supplemental. By definition, supplemental stockings try to increase the number of fish in the population. What ODWC did at Skiatook is the same thing we do any where we stock FLORIDA largemouth bass - we aim to put a fish in the lake that has the genetic potential to grow to trophy size. We know we cannot exceed the carrying capacity of the lake so the best we can hope for is a swap. We hope some stocked Florida bass survive and replace some native-spawned bass. Years down the road we hope some of those stocked fish have grow to be 8 or 10 pounders - it is a long-term gamble but we think it is worth a shot.

Past FLMB stockings at Skiatook had shown some success in producing a few trophy sized fish and in this case we had a huge surplus of fingerlings and had already stocked every lake on this year's list and several that were not due to receive fish until next year! So in this case our only real expense was the time & fuel it took to haul the fish from Durant to Skiatook and meet Biologist Bill and his crew to put them in the lake. Hardly a waste of limited resources and we made a lot of local bass anglers feel like we were not ignoring their lake.

The other issue you allude to is the nursery pond idea and our long-term plans for Skiatook. Smallmouth? Already there and reproducing naturally - no need to supplement that population. Habitat and competition with spotted bass probably the limiting factor. Walleye? Not out of the question but the focus has been on hybrid striped bass as the alternative "open water" predator. Planting submergent aquatic vegetation to improve nursery habitat is something we have discussed for the lake but a list of failed attempts of several other Oklahoma lakes is discouraging us from wanting to go down that road too far too fast. Carp control? Not on a 10,000 acre reservoir.

The idea of a nursery pond to help stock sport fish and perhaps forage fish into the lake was proposed by the local lake association a few years ago. The Corps of Engineers is providing the pond and all the materials to build a drain/harvest structure - free. The lake association volunteers will provide the labor to rear the fish and stock them into the lake. ODWC's only contribution will be FLMB fry each year and maybe a little fertilizer to boost plankton production in the pond. These fry are typically surplus for which we seldom have pond space at our hatchery so finding willing cooperators with pond space to help rear them is a bonus in our view.
Posted on Tuesday Sep 11, 2012 at 9:35 AM  
Thanks for the clarification, Gene.

Posted on Tuesday Sep 11, 2012 at 11:02 AM  
Awesome news! Thanks for the report, Gene!

I hope they have a 24hr watch for cormorants, so they don't eat all of the fry before they make it into the lake.

The Striped Bass Hybrid seem to do great in Skiatook. I hope the Florida LMB can grow to trophy size in there too. It may be a longshot, but why not take the chance if it doesn't take too many resources from other ODWC programs.

Has ODWC ever considered Coosa Spots in any of our lakes?

http://www.bassmaster.com/news/bordens-giant-spotted-bass

Posted on Tuesday Sep 11, 2012 at 12:22 PM  
Thanks for the clarification Gene

You need to take some of that Sooner hydrilla and coontail over there above black dog in the muddy flats - four or five barge loads outta do it

Coontail is getting thick in the intake canal in 6' of water.
Those who would give up constitutional freedoms to elected officials in exchange for a false sense of security, deserve neither freedom or security.
Posted on Tuesday Sep 11, 2012 at 12:33 PM  
JDub - I don't think Coosa spots are any different from Okie Spots - they do however get up to seven and eight pounds regularly - but who knows in Georgia waters you have five, Spotted Bass, Redeye Bass, Shoal bass, Largemouth, Smallmouth,

The shoal will cross with a spotted bass - and the offspring get big.

I've caught a ton of those big Coosa spots - I like em way better than even 14# largemouth - they pull harder
Those who would give up constitutional freedoms to elected officials in exchange for a false sense of security, deserve neither freedom or security.
Posted on Tuesday Sep 11, 2012 at 1:54 PM  
Gene. Thank you for the input. I'm sure that the LMB anglers were pleased with this project and with low costs involved, it seems like a win/win situation.

Posted on Tuesday Sep 11, 2012 at 2:03 PM  
Tony,

I thought I recently read that they are now recognizing the Coosa Spot as its own species. If somebody knows differently please inform me. I am eager to learn. I heard they were importing some into Texas and California because of their superior genetics.
Posted on Tuesday Sep 11, 2012 at 3:14 PM  
Apparently so, they are now known as Alabama Bass and yes Texas and California are importing them

NOW why not fix those itty bitty spots with better genetics in Skiatook - you catch one of these meanmouth and you will forget about smallies --


I think I already said that in a prior post about Skiatook

Now honestly JDub would you rather catch a ten pound Coosa Spot or a ten pound largemouth?


Those who would give up constitutional freedoms to elected officials in exchange for a false sense of security, deserve neither freedom or security.
Posted on Tuesday Sep 11, 2012 at 3:22 PM  
Looks like bait to me.

Just kidding...don't shoot...
Posted on Tuesday Sep 11, 2012 at 3:31 PM  
Posted on Tuesday Sep 11, 2012 at 4:34 PM  
Kuk -- Gene something for ya'll to consider

I recall how EXCITED the fishing community WAS when Florida genetics were introduced, almost every where the introductions were done the size of fish improved

The buzz is long gone from that success, and to keep interest and license sales up - experiments with fish such as Coosa Strain spots or Tennessee Strain Smallies would do a lot for the image of ODWC if not so much for the "native" fishery

We had visionaries some time ago like the late Bob Kemp who put big bass on the Texas map, and much of the southwest and beyond --

I think ya'll worry way too much about watering down Oklahoma "native" fish to support wackos who couldn't care less about fishing and couldn't tell you the difference between an Okie native smallie and a Tennessee strain smallie laid side to side.
Those who would give up constitutional freedoms to elected officials in exchange for a false sense of security, deserve neither freedom or security.
Posted on Tuesday Sep 11, 2012 at 5:06 PM  
quote:
Originally posted by Tony_Hughes

Apparently so, they are now known as Alabama Bass and yes Texas and California are importing them

NOW why not fix those itty bitty spots with better genetics in Skiatook - you catch one of these meanmouth and you will forget about smallies --


I think I already said that in a prior post about Skiatook

Now honestly JDub would you rather catch a ten pound Coosa Spot or a ten pound largemouth?





That is what I was trying to get at in a subtle way. Bama Spots in Skiatook!

Now imagine a Bama Spot Crossing with one of Gene's newly introduced Florida LM!

Wait a minute....I am getting a little out of control.


I am still happy to hear that we are trying something different with our surplus Florida LM. I have also read other forums where bass fisherman were awfully concerned about Skiatook's LM situation.

Thanks Again Gene!!
Posted on Tuesday Sep 11, 2012 at 5:08 PM  
And Tony,

I think I would choose the 10 lb Coosa for sure!
Posted on Tuesday Sep 11, 2012 at 11:05 PM  
Skiatook WAS a good largemouth lake for its first seven years, because of fertility in newly flooded vegetation and thin soils. Like a LOT of North Central Okie lakes it just isn't in fertile enough soil to sustain a good largemouth population - thats just the facts, you want good largemouth? You need moss, cover(other than wood) and lots of sunfish for forage no matter how much Gene or others wish it, stocking it with additional Florida strain fish LIKELY will have negligible impact on improving a lake like Skiatook.

But if the public clamors for stock and hope so be it --

Put ya a chicken processing facility on Black
Dog point and dumping nitrogen to feed water weeds and for places for sunfish to spawn and hide in - MAYBE you would have something

Oklahoma overall has old tired lakes sited in poor clay/rocky soils,

At best the fisheries for Largemouth will NEVER be as good as SE Okie impoundments, could the fisheries be improved?

Yea drain the lakes and start over planting buckbrush, cattails, lilly pads and submergent vegetation. Move all the lakes south of Hwy 59.

They are what they are and will likely always be - marginal largemouth habitat.


Those who would give up constitutional freedoms to elected officials in exchange for a false sense of security, deserve neither freedom or security.
Posted on Tuesday Sep 11, 2012 at 11:35 PM  
Gene, thanks for the clarification on the rearing ponds. Is there a possibility of something like that for Hybrids there or on some other lake?

Steve Carroll Hybrid/Striper Guide Skiatook Lake Fishing Guides, Lowrance Pro Staff, Zebco Brands Pro Staff, Yeti Pro Staff, Costa Del Mar Pro Staff, Mercury/Motor Guide Pro Team.





Posted on Wednesday Sep 12, 2012 at 9:42 AM  
From the lake management plan from 2009:

In 2002, 2003 and 2005 Florida largemouth bass were reintroduced into Skiatook Lake in order to enhance the genetic structure of the largemouth bass population. In 2006, the Florida stockings were evaluated using electrophoresis indicating 15% of Age-1 largemouth bass collected were pure Florida bass and 3% were F1 (first generation Florida x Northern crosses). These results were considered very good considering the numbers and size of the bass stocked.

In spring of 2009 age and growth data were collected from the largemouth bass sample (Figure 3). Growth rates were fair with bass at Age 3 reaching 13.4 inches and 14.8 inches at Age 4. The current lake record for largemouth bass is 9.3 pounds and was 23.5 inches in length.
Posted on Wednesday Sep 12, 2012 at 1:23 PM  
quote:
Originally posted by BassSER

From the lake management plan from 2009:

In 2002, 2003 and 2005 Florida largemouth bass were reintroduced into Skiatook Lake in order to enhance the genetic structure of the largemouth bass population. In 2006, the Florida stockings were evaluated using electrophoresis indicating 15% of Age-1 largemouth bass collected were pure Florida bass and 3% were F1 (first generation Florida x Northern crosses). These results were considered very good considering the numbers and size of the bass stocked.

In spring of 2009 age and growth data were collected from the largemouth bass sample (Figure 3). Growth rates were fair with bass at Age 3 reaching 13.4 inches and 14.8 inches at Age 4. The current lake record for largemouth bass is 9.3 pounds and was 23.5 inches in length.




For a lake completed in 1984 it hasn't set the world on fire with Florida bass I hope that the re-introduction succeds but wouldn't hold my breath -

For as many Florida bass as have been released and a 18% mixed return - justification must be based only on angler social demands on the department.

Smallies and Spots are filling their niches - but Largemouth are NOT - you can fish HARD all day in upper lake areas and likely only see three or four decent LM bass -- on a good day

Even if the lake had 100% pure Florida strain fish, about all you are doing is supplemental stocking - for a lake now 36 years old if it EVER was going to produce a double digit Largemouth it would already have done so --

The howl in the background is too much competition for food, but hybrids were stocked when the lake was impounded in 1984 too -- and has produced heavier hybrids the the biggest largemouth -- and smallies to seven pounds --

Time to try something different, the definition of insanity, keep on doing the same things hoping for different results.


Those who would give up constitutional freedoms to elected officials in exchange for a false sense of security, deserve neither freedom or security.
Posted on Wednesday Sep 12, 2012 at 1:54 PM  
My dad and I fished it quite a bit and did fairly well out there in the late 80s/early 90s and then it started to fall off dramatically. I'm assuming that's when the spots started to take over the lake's carrying capacity. I think the hope is that the newly stocked fish will squeeze some of the spots out of there. I'm not holding my breath either...

I'm no bioligist, but I'd suspect (as Tony has suggested) that the habitat is going to be the main obstacle in re-establishing a quality largemouth population. There is just a whole lot of prime habitat for spots and smallies and very little habitat that really sets up well for largemouth to thrive. Vegetation would help, but with the water levels frequently dropping as they do at Skiatook, I wouldn't expect any success getting much to grow consistently. Of course, there isn't much vegetation in lakes like Grand that have a healthy largemouth population, so I'm not sure what the difference is.
Posted on Wednesday Sep 12, 2012 at 2:17 PM  
There's a tremendous amount of man made habitat under the docks on Grand.
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