Black Bass Species Shifts in Three Tennessee Valley Authority Reservoirs in North Georgia

Wednesday, August 20, 2014: 9:40 AM
304A (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Patrick O'Rouke , Wildlife Resources Division, Fisheries Management, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Gainesville, GA
Jim Hakala , Wildlife Resources Division, Georgia Department of Natural Resources
John Damer , Wildlife Resources Division, Georgia Department of Natural Resources
Historically, black bass fisheries in Chatuge Reservoir, Nottely Reservoir, and Blue Ridge Reservoir in Georgia were dominated by largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) and/or smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu).  Over the past three decades, all three reservoirs have experienced major shifts in black bass species composition and are now heavily comprised of spotted bass (i.e. Alabama bass, Micropterus henshalli and/or Kentucky bass, Micropterus punctulatus).  We reviewed historical agency sampling data at these three reservoirs to assess the factors that may cause spotted bass dominance.  Primary factors included the introduction of non-native blueback herring, species introductions of non-native black basses, and reservoir aging.  Georgia DNR is currently stocking largemouth bass at Nottely Reservoir to mitigate for the decrease in largemouth abundance and is considering stocking smallmouth bass at these TVA reservoirs.  Understanding the factors that led to these species shifts could be crucial to the feasibility and success of future stocking/restoration programs in reservoirs that have undergone a similar change in black bass species composition.