Evaluation of the bonus fishery created by the low-density stocking of Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis) in Bull Shoals Lake

Objectives

  1. Describe the low-density Striped Bass bonus fishery in Bull Shoals Lake.
  2. Define expectations of any potential alternative stocking strategies that may be considered after the 2019 stocking.
  3. Determine if the forage requirements of the Striped Bass population are having an impact on other sportfish populations in the reservoir.

Overview

Creating Striped Bass fisheries in reservoirs throughout the United States produces popular fishing opportunities for local anglers, non-local fisherman, and often supports businesses offering guided fishing services. As the Striped Bass fishery develops in Bull Shoals Lake, it is likely that its popularity will increase and angler expectations will resemble those of the adjacent Norfork Lake fishery. In the past there was an expectation from local anglers that a trophy Striped Bass fishery was available in Bull Shoals Lake. However, there are concerns these fish may compete or consume other popular sport fishes like black bass and crappie. Anglers understand the potential for a Striped Bass fishery in Bull Shoals Lake and current stocking rates aim to meet this expectation. In order to balance the goal of providing a trophy fishery with the inevitable evolution of angler expectations it will be important to define the fishery provided by the current stocking rate and expected outcomes of alternative stocking strategies. Understanding the information needs outlined in the project proposal will be necessary to manage angler expectations and maximize the benefits of this fishery. This proposed project will provide this information and help inform future management decisions following the 2019 Striped Bass stocking.

Acknowledgements

  • Investigator: PhD student TBD
  • Advisor: Dr. Craig Paukert
  • Funding: Missouri Department of Conservationr
  • Cooperators: Andy Turner, Nathan Recktenwald, Shane Bush, Jake Colehour, Drew Burdick, Zach Ford, Paul Michaletz, Ivan Vining::MDC
  • Location: Bull Shoals Reservoir, southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas
  • Expected Date of Completion: July 2021