Dispersal patterns of largemouth bass and smallmouth bass following early-, mid-, and late-season fishing tournaments in an Eastern Ontario Lake

Abrams, Alice E. I., Zolderdo, A. J., Lédée, Elodie J., Lawrence, Michael J., Holder, Peter E., and Cooke, Steven J. (2021) Dispersal patterns of largemouth bass and smallmouth bass following early-, mid-, and late-season fishing tournaments in an Eastern Ontario Lake. North American Journal of Fisheries Management, 41 (5). pp. 1454-1464.

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Black bass fishing tournaments with conventional weigh-ins tend to displace fish from their capture site and often release fish within close proximity to the weigh-in site. Tournaments often include Largemouth Bass Micropterus salmoides and Smallmouth Bass M. dolomieu and occur throughout fishing seasons; however, there have yet to be any systematic congeneric comparisons across different seasons. Objectives of our study were to (1) assess post-tournament dispersal of Largemouth Bass and Smallmouth Bass (i.e., short-term stockpiling-accumulation of fish around weigh-in site <1 month after tournament) across seasons, and (2) determine the success of return to the main basin. Research took place on Big Rideau Lake in eastern Ontario and included a preseason control (N = 30) where fish were captured, acoustically tagged, and released at the site of tournament weigh-in (Rideau Ferry). Tournament-caught bass (N = 88 total) were tagged at three tournaments that spanned June (early season), August (midseason), and October (late season). Our results indicated a brief short-term stockpiling (within 300 m) in all seasons, and all detected fish eventually returned to the main basin. Tournament-caught Largemouth Bass tended to take longer to disperse from the release site following the midseason tournament (4.6 d); Smallmouth Bass tended to disperse from release site <1 d following all treatments. Similarly, tournament-caught Largemouth Bass exposed to the midseason tournament tended to take the longest to redistribute to the main basin (238 d) in comparison to other treatments. Although Smallmouth Bass tended to redistribute to the main basin faster than Largemouth Bass, late-season Smallmouth Bass tended to redistribute the slowest (101 d) following tournament release. Although fish do survive and eventually return to the main basin, displacement may have broader ecological consequences (i.e., large-scale displacement of top predators, adverse effects on recruitment) such that there would be merit in more catch-weigh-release formatted events.

Item ID: 72098
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1548-8675
Copyright Information: ©2021 American Fisheries Society.
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2022 08:14
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310304 Freshwater ecology @ 60%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310901 Animal behaviour @ 40%
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