Since the early 1980’s, more than 100-million Florida bass have been released in many lakes around Louisiana in an effort to produce larger fish. The stocking of the fish has seen mixed results in differing bodies of water. LSU AgCenter Professor of Fisheries Bill Kelso says the Florida Bass has never taken to the Atchafalaya Basin.
"They put a lot of fish in the Atchafalaya, but all the genetic analysis that we've done has shown that most of the fish you've see out there are native fish," says Kelso.
However, Kelso says studies have shown there are many hotspots to find the larger bass.
"False River, back in the 80's, back when they first started putting them in there, produced a very large fish, and Caney Lake at one point had produced 19 of the top 20 fish in the state."
Kelso says over the next three years they will collect habitat data in several lakes to determine what affects bass growth and genetic composition.
"Is is the food? Is it the depth and size of the lake? Is it aquatic plant cover? Is it water quality? Can we come up with a reason why we are seeing these differential patterns of introgression?" says Kelso of the questions to which they are looking to answer.