Jump to content

Kentucky Bass


Kevin Wagner

Recommended Posts

  • Members

Here recently in one of our discussion threads, we were talking about the numbers of Kentucky Bass caught, and the existence of a possible hybrid bass in Stockton. I was curious if I could find something out from the local fisheries Biologist who manages Stockton, and he was kind enough to help us out (truly, we are lucky to have such an awesome conservation department in our State!). Here is what he had to say...

"We annually sample the black bass fishery at Stockton Lake, and our data does not suggest a trend of increasing abundance of Kentucky (spotted) bass in Stockton Lake. On the contrary, our black bass sample in the spring of 2010 contained the lowest percentage of spotted bass during the last 15 years of sampling. Spotted bass made up 3% of sampled bass in the Big Sac Arm and 6% of sampled bass in the Little Sac Arm in 2010. For perspective, the 15 year averages of the percentage of spotted bass sampled in the Big Sac and Little Sac Arms are 11% and 25% respectively. Due to the extremely high waters at Stockton this last spring, we were unable to collect a black bass sample for 2011.

As you said, certain anglers catching more spotted bass the past few years might be associated more closely with how or when they are fishing. It could also be where they are fishing, including which part of the lake and which micro-habitat they are fishing. Also, you might have noticed that the past few years there has been a higher abundance of 10 to 14 inch bass in Stockton Lake. This is a result of a large year class of largemouth bass produced in the high waters of 2008. Some anglers might be misidentifying some of these smaller largemouth bass as spotted bass due to the sheer numbers they are catching and that smaller largemouth bass are more difficult to identify. To answer your last question, we have not noticed a large number of largemouth bass- spotted bass hybrids during our surveys. I would be interested as to which characteristics you are seeing in fish identified as hybrids. The characteristics that I prefer to use to separate the largemouth and spotted bass is the jaw structure and presence of ventrolateral stripes. As you know, the mouth of the largemouth extends slightly or well past the eye and the mouth of a spotted bass ends at the eye. Ventrolateral stripes are clearly present on spotted bass and absent or faint on largemouth bass. Using the tongue patch can be useful with experience, but often confuses folks and results in misidentification, as a certain percentage of largemouth have a small tongue patch."

This is really interesting info for us folks that fish Stockton regularly. I found it interesting that a lot of times the facts are far different that what I "feel" is going on. Also, if anyone has caught a fish that they feel is a hybrid, let me know the characteristics (or a picture would be great), and I will forward onto the MDC. I want to thank Adam and the MDC for all the hard work they do to keep our fisheries some of the best in the country!

Also, this might be useful to some of you:

http://mdc.mo.gov/fishing/fish-catch/fish-id/bass-identification

If anyone has anything to add, I appreciate everyone's comments.

Good fishing everybody!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To answer your last question, we have not noticed a large number of largemouth bass- spotted bass hybrids during our surveys.

A large number? What's he talkin' 'bout, Willis? As far as I know, LM and spots can't hybridize AT ALL. Spots can and do hybridize with SM. Maybe that's what he meant. I second the biologist's query...I'd like to see what LM/spot hybrids y'all are talkin' about. That'd be a first for me.

Interesting info otherwise.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

A large number? What's he talkin' 'bout, Willis? As far as I know, LM and spots can't hybridize AT ALL. Spots can and do hybridize with SM. Maybe that's what he meant. I second the biologist's query...I'd like to see what LM/spot hybrids y'all are talkin' about. That'd be a first for me.

Interesting info otherwise.

Your reply is good to know as well. I did not know that it wasn't even a possibility. Is the spot/smallmouth hybrid what is sometimes called the "Meanmouth" bass?

Thanks for your reply!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is the spot/smallmouth hybrid what is sometimes called the "Meanmouth" bass?

Yessir, that's correct. There are some old threads here where guys who know more about it go into more detail about the hybrids. Do a little searching and you'll find 'em.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Yessir, that's correct. There are some old threads here where guys who know more about it go into more detail about the hybrids. Do a little searching and you'll find 'em.

Thanks Eric. You rock!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have caught a few hybrids at Stockton in the dam area. They look just like the meanmouth that we catch on TR every once in a while.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Illinois game and fish people were the first people that I am aware of to cross a largemouth and smallmouth in hatchery conditions. It was nicknamed a meanmouth. If my memory serves me correctly that was back in the late 60's or early 70's. I remember it created quite a stir at the time as it was as fast growing bass with an aggressive attitude but ultimately teh cost of production and reproductive issues really made it a non starter. Since then meanmouth has been used most often as a reflection of the smallmouth x spotted bass hybrid that is infrequently seen in wild populations. When I was working in the field the term meanmouth was usually not used as we often weren't sure which type of bass hybrid the other person might be talking about. In my years of fishing on Stockton I have only caught a few bass that I thought might be a largemouth x spotted cross (maybe 8 or 9) but never took the time to really look at them closely. I have always been more concerned with the number of those small spots I have caught over the years. I must confess that I often fish steep rocky banks which the spots really seem to like so maybe it is just the habitat that makes the difference. As far as the question of largemouth x spotted bass hybrids, I know it has been artifically been done on labs but I don't know if it has ever been documented in the wild. I am going to set here at the computer a while and search some of the archives. If I don't fall asleep I will post later on what I find. lol

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I dug up the following two links;

http://www.tnfish.org/PhotoGalleryFish_TWRA/FishPhotoGallery_TWRA/pages/HybridBassLargemouthSpottedNorrisNegus_jpg.htm

http://www.ncsu.edu/project/fish-lab/pdfs/godbout_2009.pdf

The first article is specifically about the largemouth/spotted bass hybrid in nature. In the first paragraph it references 6 other research articles that have addressed this issue in the past. If anyone is interested in reading any of those articles let me know and I will try to get a copy if I can. The second link is a supposed picture of one of these hybrids. Have fun reading.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Straw Hat,

You are a blessing on these matters as you obviously have a great background in fisheries. I remember having a "Kentucky" discussion a little oveer a year ago and if my memory serves me right you posted some websites from Oklahoma Fish and Game on these Largemouth/Kentucky Hybrids. Maybe you could find them again. I personally caught a Bass a few weeks ago that definitely had characteristics of Largemouth and Kentucky at Stockton. I did not turn the fish in for DNA sampling. I am glad Kevin Wagner has ask the Biologist for Stockton to take part in these discussions as I am sure he is very knowledgable.Maybe he could give us some information on the Kentucky/Largemouth crosses. The information I have read on Kentucky crosses says that the offspring grow slower than either parent species. I am extremely curious as to how our percentages of Kentuckies went from a 15 year average of 11% down to 3% on the Big Sac and 25% down to 6% on the Little Sac. I don't remember a fish kill or anything so it seems like a "Bad" sampling. It would be really weird for something like this to happen as Kentucky populations in most lakes steadily climbs. As for myself and Straw Hat I believe we have about the same opinion on the Kentuckies and that would be that they are a great fish but there are bigger Bass Species we would like to see in greater numbers. I read just recently that the Kentuckies are considered mature at 7". How many Largemouth do we see spawning at 7"? Hopefully this will spark some factual and intelligent replies.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.