This will be music to the ears of Lake Allatoona’s fisherpeople:
The Department of Natural Resources has begun a three-year program to stock the lake with largemouth bass.
How many fish will be plopped into the water?
- 250,000 largemouth bass fingerlings (1-2 inches) annually through 2015
- several thousand larger bass (5-8 inches) each fall.
Biologists will evaluate the comparative success between two different releases as the fish grow into adults.
Largemouth bass typically attain larger adult size than spotted bass, such as the 10-pound, 37″ monster I personally caught at Pony Lake in Dahlonega years ago, using a $15 collapsible fishing rod and reel that got all tore up in the process. Oh, yeah.
The DNR says Georgia anglers spend more days fishing for bass than any other freshwater species in the state. Lake Allatoona is no exception.
Largemouth bass are a common native bass species found throughout Georgia’s lakes, ponds and rivers. While this species already exists in Lake Allatoona, it is far less common than its cousin, the spotted bass.
If this multi-year stocking experiment works, then largemouth bass may eventually comprise a larger proportion of the black bass population in the lake.
“Largemouth bass currently make up only 10-20 percent of the black bass population in the lake,” said Jim Hakala, fisheries biologist. “This indicates a population balance that has shifted as they were much more abundant decades ago than they are today.”
In recent years, largemouth fingerlings were stocked into Lake Nottely in north Georgia to reverse declining largemouth bass abundance. The early results of that study have shown promise for increasing largemouth numbers in a spotted bass-dominated lake. “These findings suggest there may be a chance to improve largemouth abundance in Allatoona through stocking,” said Hakala.
While the stocking phase of the Allatoona study is set to last through 2015, fisheries staff will monitor largemouth bass abundance through 2018, as they grow to adult size. This will help biologists assess the contribution of stocked fish to the Allatoona largemouth bass population through time, and guide future management decisions.
We are thankful for Fisheries Biologist Jim Hakala at the WRD Fisheries Office in Calhoun, GA, for this important study.