Management tools

Discussion in 'Bass' started by GKramer, Jul 4, 2022.

  1. GKramer

    GKramer Well-Known Member

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    Just a reminder that the fishery management tools we have at our disposal only work when we use them. Let me name some: minimum length, slot limit, bass fishing "seasons" (other parts of the country) and, of course, bag limits. Catch and release is also a management tool, however, when taken to its logical end, the result is leaving a low percentage of dominate fish out-foraging the smaller ones. Subsequently, we have cycles of lean, stressed fish (though we may still have some larger adult fish present.)

    As a gauge, most regulars at Lower Otay and at San Vicente would agree that compared to three or more years back, the average fish today is smaller and leaner, and the baitfish (per sonar views) is far more scarce. True, this is not "scientific" analysis, but most avid anglers reporting observe the same things. Additionally, tournament results (admittedly not everyone's favorite activity) show lots of limits over the last two years, but the number of fish over 4 pounds continues to dwindle by comparison.

    The one that gets my attention is night tournaments (with lots of skilled anglers) catching 3 fish limits dominated by fish under 3 pounds. There are a few exceptional catches, but that number is now small. I am thinking the "feel good" strategy of letting them all go should be replaced by old-fashioned, catch and keep. In fact, a year of keeping (and utilizing) will very likely get some balance back in these fish populations.

    If we don't, I believe we will have to endure some hard times, especially as the lake levels are expected to remain low.
     
  2. camobass

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    I know back in the 80’s all the local big bass guys like Henderson, were keeping all the double digits and we’re catching a lot more.
     
  3. Risentidefishing

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    The problem is most of the people who fish for bass don't want to keep a stringer full at the end of the day. I know I definitely don't, especially with an almost endless supply of much better tasting fish in the ocean. While things may have been different when they were originally introduced, largemouth bass are primarily in our lakes now for sport, not for food. They are worth more to the city in the water than they are on your dinner table. I think higher and more consistent water levels and increased stocking of forage fish (pan sized trout, shad, etc) would also be successful in raising the overall size. Unfortunately we live in a desert so one of these is more feasible than the other. I know of some untouched ponds that are LOADED with big fish (And highly illegal), so it is definitely possible to have good overall size of fish without removing a lot of fish from the population. Plenty of bass ponds around the country are managed for trophy bass and are strictly catch and release so there is definitely other ways to go about it.
     
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  4. fishindad

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    Government can’t even manage most things it does and I doubt that they can do much better with the fisheries.Especially here in California
    Now with that being said I see a lot of these bass shows on youtube and the like on these supposed better lakes across the country and most of the fish I see being swung in the boat are mostly average fish here or smaller. And when they hook up they are like oh I got a good one! They then proceed to bring it to the boat and I’m thinking in my head like wow it’s an okay fish but not like they were making it out to be.
    My hypothesis is that most people catching the really big Bass around here keep it mum due to the high pressure lakes and the tourneys they may want to win. Can’t say that I blame them and if most people could fish like them then yes our Bass fisheries would be in serious trouble.
    Most of the local guides could could take people out and have a day on the lake that would rival most lakes in the country.
     
    #4 fishindad, Jul 5, 2022
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2022
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  5. camobass

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  6. Werfless

    Werfless The Coach ..RIP my friends
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    Four of the five best big bass fisheries on earth have active gill net operations, the fifth removes every single bass caught there under five lb. If you rotenone a lake, the LMB will repopulate to full density within about three years typically. This attests to the fecundity of the green bass (and the greater sunfish complex in general, yes LMB are sunfish), one female can crank out around 500,000 eggs in a single season if the literature I have read is to be believed. For this same reason, those smaller males are actually the more important fish to retain undisturbed in our fisheries. When I hear bass guys talking about a tough bite, I ask them how many they kept last year. Typically I get either a look of disgust or the blank stare...
     
  7. Queue

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    Catch and Release culture has been the death of trophy bass fishing. I’ve been beating that dead horse for over a decade with no success in changing minds to act as far as my angler surveys can tell. Bass anglers collectively choose to make their bed this way…..get comfortable.

    On the “positive” side, drought and dropping water impacts recruitment (spawned fish to adulthood) so the lakes that lose water, generally will have the poorest recruitment. Limiting or eliminating the freshly hatched competition that competes for food and space. Drought will generally produce a higher ratio of bigger fish through gape size attrition. Attrition is accelerated through harvesting bass.

    Addition by subtraction.
     
    #7 Queue, Jul 7, 2022
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2022
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