Recently, the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Fisheries Section stocked approximately 300,000 Florida largemouth bass into Jordan Reservoir in Elmore County, Ala. The May 2018 stocking is part of a continuing effort to shift the genetics of Alabama’s native Northern largemouth bass population to one with more desirable growth traits.
The 1- to 2-inch fingerlings were stocked in the “New Lake” region of the reservoir above Bouldin Dam. The fingerlings were supplied by WFF fish hatcheries in Eastaboga and Marion, Ala.
Florida bass have the potential to grow larger than Alabama’s native Northern strain of largemouth bass. When Florida largemouth bass are stocked into Alabama lakes they tend to crossbreed with the native largemouth population. These hybrids have shown superior growth potential in reservoirs and small impoundments across the Southeast.
In recent years, WFF has concentrated stocking efforts in the New Lake area due to its isolation from the main portion of the reservoir. The man-made Bouldin Canal acts as a barrier to the rest of the reservoir making it an ideal place to stock the Florida bass and induce the desired genetic change. The New Lake area also offers extensive shoreline vegetation, which is desirable habitat for largemouth bass.
Over the last three years, a total of 992,316 pure Florida largemouth bass have been stocked into the New Lake section of Jordan Reservoir. The WFF Fisheries Section will assess the stocking efforts over the next several years by collecting small fin samples for genetic analysis. If the project is successful, genetic changes should be seen throughout Jordan Reservoir as fish gradually move out of the New Lake area and anglers move fish around during tournaments.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com.