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Welcome to the technical sessions schedule for the 2015 SEAFWA Annual Meeting.

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Tuesday, November 3 • 3:40pm - 4:00pm
Catch and Release Impacts Trophy Bass Fishery in Arkansas

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Jeremy T. Risley, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission; Ronald L. Johnson, Arkansas State University

Lake Monticello in southeastern Arkansas is a renowned largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) lake where anglers fish to catch a trophy bass. The size structure and potential harvest of the bass population was evaluated in the context of the existing 406 – 533 mm total slot limit (TSL) in addition to other potential slot limits. The largemouth bass population was sampled using nighttime boat-mounted electrofishing conducted during 2006 - 2007. Memorable-sized bass represented 17% of the total sample by length. With the existing TSL, 35% of the fish sampled were under, 52% were within, and 13% were above the slot. More importantly, males were concentrated within the slot, and did not grow out of the existing slot. A proposed TSL of a 483 - 559 mm increased the number of fish potentially harvested below the slot and fewer fish dying, particularly males, within the slot. Voluntary release rates were 88% and 86% for bass and non-bass anglers, respectively. A mail-in survey of 249 anglers revealed most (77%) strongly agreed or agreed with “I practice catch and release fishing for largemouth bass”, and 70% rarely or never harvested LMB. Efforts need to be made to encourage harvest of fish below the slot for improving the trophy bass fishery at Lake Monticello. With the obvious impact on the local economy, every effort needs to be taken to ensure that Lake Monticello remains a trophy bass fishery in the future as the majority of the anglers fishing indicated they were fishing for trophy largemouth bass.

Tuesday November 3, 2015 3:40pm - 4:00pm EST

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