Conservation Matters February 2012

The Texas Land, Water and Wildlife Connection

Learn how to raise trophy bass at management seminar March 23–24 in Athens

Trophy BassAs 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."

Registration for the training is $70 by March 16 and $100 thereafter. Participants may register online at agriliferegister.tamu.edu or by calling 979.845.2604. 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."

For more information, contact Higginbotham at 903.834.6191 or b-higginbotham@tamu.edu, or Dr. Michael Masser, AgriLife Extension fisheries specialist, College Station, at 979-845-7370 or m-masser@tamu.edu.

Read the full article at AgriLife TODAY.

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