Tim Smith Posted June 10, 2008 Report Share Posted June 10, 2008 Following up on the discussion of last week. Biologists in Lake Powell have been using catch and kill strategy to restructure their population of smallmouth bass. The creel limit for smallmouth bass there is 20 fish (there is no limit for striped bass). Since implementing this management strategy, a dense population of 12 inch fish has given way to a less dense population of larger smallmouth. The size increase of smallmouth bass was correlated with an increase in forage density. http://www.wayneswords.com/gillnet.htm This is not intended to advocate catch and kill smallmouth fisheries in Illinois. Lake Powell is somewhat of a special case. There are probably very few smallmouth bass populations in Illinois so dense as to warrant harvesting. However, these results do show that recreational fisheries can restructure predator fish populations (duh) and reduce pressure on forage populations (in this case Dorosoma species but elsewhere in the west perhaps endangered salmon). In the case of western rivers where smallmouth fisheries co-exist with native salmonid fisheries, the better choice would be to encourage anglers to harvest smallmouth and other non-native predator species. This provides the benefits of a harvest fishery for non-native species, and (hopefully) reduces predation pressure on the native (and declining) salmon and steelhead. Catch and release is but one tool in the conservation arsenal. Context is everything. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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