It's technical: Raising trophy bass takes top management practices
Statewide largemouth bass management seminar set March 23-24 in Athens
ATHENS – As many landowners have learned, you just don’t stock a pond or lake with largemouth bass and automatically get trophy-size fish, according to a Texas AgriLife Extension Service expert.
Growing big fish takes top management, which can be learned at “Bass Tech: The Technology to Manage for Success,” a statewide symposium set March 23-24 at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center-Conservation Center Building, 5550 Farm-to-Market Road 2495, Athens, said Dr. Billy Higginbotham, AgriLife Extension wildlife and fisheries specialist.
“Many of the small- to medium-size lakes and ponds have caught water,” he said. “There are many ponds that are still below their normal pool levels, but certainly, throughout much of the state ponds have recovered to a great degree.”
There are more than a million private impoundments in the state, many of which could be used for increased recreation through bass fishing with better management, Higginbotham said.
Session presentations and tours will include Basic Pond Ecology, Water Quality, Pond Fertilization, Do-It-Yourself Fish Population Assessment and Corrective Stockings, Better Bass Fishing Through Genetics, Trophy Bass Management, Identifying and Controlling Nuisance Wildlife, Aquatic Weed Identification and Control, Feeding, Seining and Electrofishing Demonstration, and Aging Largemouth Bass Using Otoliths.
“An otolith is a bony structure that lays down annual rings so it can be used to determine the age of a fish,” Higginbotham said. “The workshop will demonstrate how to remove and use otoliths to determine the age of a fish. This age determination is useful in estimating growth rates and reproductive success by year.”
Instructors include wildlife and fisheries experts with AgriLife Extension, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and American Sport Fish Hatchery, a southeastern U.S. stocking and pond maintenance service.
The symposium has been held before, the last time in 2008, Higginbotham said.
“The main difference this year is that we’ve trimmed some topics based on participant evaluations,” he said. “We have an optional tour of the hatchery at the center the day before, but the one-day program means participants won’t have to go to the expense and trouble of spending the night if they don’t want to.”
Registration for the training is $70 by March 16, $100 thereafter. Participants may register online at http://agriliferegister.tamu.edu and enter the keyword “bass” or by calling 979-845-2604. Registration will be from 7-8 a.m. on March 24. Presentations, tours and exhibits will conclude at 5 p.m. A catered lunch and break refreshments will be included in the registration fee.
In addition, each registrant will receive a CD of the proceedings, speaker notes and a copy of Higginbotham’s “Wildlife and Fish Management Calendar.”
An optional behind-the-scenes tour of the center will be from 3-5 p.m. on March 23.
Texas Department of Agriculture private pesticide applicator license holders can earn one continuing education unit in integrated pest management.
The center is about 4 miles east of Athens and 75 miles southeast of Dallas. More information on the center can be found athttp://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/visitorcenters/tffc/.
For more information on the symposium, or to register by regular mail and check, contact Higginbotham at 903-834-6191 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr. Michael Masser, AgriLife Extension fisheries specialist, College Station at 979-845-7370 or email@example.com .