Thousands of Florida-strain bass released in surrounding waters
Wildlife and Fisheries biologist Tim Ruth releases 6-7 inch bass in grass beds along the shoreline in the Lake Cataouatche area.
"This is not a restocking program. We have been conducting a Florida-strain bass genetic survey since 2003,” Ruth said. “We are now in Phase II of our program."
Wildlife and Fisheries agents started their day Thursday morning at the Lacombe fish hatchery. Water in a holding pond had been drawn down, enabling agents to seine the pond and catch 2,000 Florida-strain bass. The bass were then placed in oxygenated tanks and transported to the boat launch at Bayou Segnette State Park in Westwego.
"With the temperatures in the mid 30s, the metabolism of the small fish tends to slow down and increase the survival rate,” Ruth said. “The agents had to get into the cold water to catch the fish but that's part of our job. We have released over 7,800 fingerlings within the past three weeks.”
We met at the Bayou Segnette State Park boat launch around 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon. The temperature was 36 degrees with a wind chill of 30 degrees. After an hour of unloading the small fingerlings into the boat tank, we headed out to Lake Cataouatche.
Along the shorelines of the lake, Ruth, Gary Vitrano and Matt Duplessis began looking for grass beds.
"The grass beds allow quick cover for the small fish to survive,” Ruth said. “Birds and larger fish make quick meals of them if released in open water.”
With Duplessis at the helm, we quickly released all 2.000 bass within an hour. At 4 p.m., we were back at the dock with a job well done.
With that, the department’s 2011 update has concluded. A combination of 14,000 Florida bass fingerlings have been released from 2003 to 2005, all prior to hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Ike.
Nine thousand were released in 2010 and 7.800 in 2011. The bass range in size from 4-10 inches in length. The fingerlings are being released as part of a 3-year study and agents will take liver samples of bass in the area to allow biologist to monitor growth rates and the identification of species.
Largemouth bass were collected by electrofishing in the Spring of 2010. The genetic samples taken determined Florida bass from sub species. Samples were taken from 36 locations in the lakes and surrounding bayous.
The results of the surveys will determine the best management strategies for largemouth bass in the area.
"Growing up as a young fisherman, I always wanted to catch a trophy bass...10 pounds and upward,” Ruth said. “To do so, a Louisiana fisherman had to fish in Florida water. Now I see Florida license plates at the boat launch.
“It proves our program is working. Florida fishermen come to Louisiana to catch trophy bass.”
Subscribe Today and Save!!!
St. Charles Herald-Guide is an award-winning newspaper that covers all aspects of St. Charles Parish - from schools and parish government news to social events, features on our local residents and sports.
Order your subscription today!
After finishing last season 14-1 and losing a host of key players to graduation,...
A St. Rose man has received a mandatory sentence of life in prison for the 2012...
Ashlyn Frahm is this year’s salutatorian for Destrehan High School (DHS)....
Although Randall “Randy” Harvey had an idea he might be named Destrehan High School...
HBO is back in St. Charles Parish filming an eight-part series called “Quarry” that...
Your One Stop Home Improvement Shop...
Hahnville senior leaps to state championships - 2567 views
Hahnville’s Brandon Singleton won both the 110-and 300-meter hurdle events in the Class 5A LHSAA’s Outdoor Track and Field State Championships on Saturday.