HOLLY SHELTER, N.C. (Nov. 20, 2012) — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission coordinated with bass clubs and a private fish hatchery on Nov. 3 to tag and release 153 adult largemouth bass in the Northeast Cape Fear River.
Members of Topsail Bassmasters and Burgaw Hawg Hunters, working with fisheries biologists, released the fish in the river near Holly Shelter in Pender County to help bolster the existing population, which had been hit especially hard by Hurricane Irene in 2011. Club members purchased the fish from Southeast Pond Stocking with money from fundraisers and other donations from Team Bassmasters and Northeast Bass Anglers.
Although recent Commission surveys confirm that most coastal river fish populations appear to be recovering naturally from Hurricane Irene, previous Commission studies suggest that releases of largemouth bass greater than 8 inches may enhance local populations where natural recovery is slow. Biologists hope that this supplemental stocking of fish, which range between 10 and 14 inches in length, will help speed the population’s natural recovery.
To evaluate the effectiveness of the stocking, biologists clipped a pelvic fin and injected a small magnetic chip in the cheek of each fish before release. They will sample the river periodically, and coordinate with tournament directors, to check largemouth bass for magnetic chips and determine the contribution of these released fish to the local population as well as tournament weigh-ins.
This stocking in the Northeast CapeFear River is the second where fisheries biologists have teamed with local bassclubs and other stakeholders to help supplement a fishery impacted by Hurricane Irene. In late September, almost 200 largemouth bass, ranging from 8 to 12 inches in length, were collected from a private lake in Edgecombe County and stocked in the lower Roanoke River near Plymouth.
Each stocking will be evaluated to provide additional insight on management options following hurricane-induced fish kills.
“We appreciate the opportunity to work with Topsail Bassmasters, Burgaw Hawg Hunters and other coastal region angling groups as we explore responsible stocking options in efforts to supplement natural recovery following extensive hurricane-induced fish kills,”said Kevin Dockendorf, the Commission’s coastal fisheries research coordinator.“We continue to update our response plan as we learn more about management actions that may enhance sport fisheries with wise use of available resources.”
For more information on fishing in public, inland waters, visit the fishing page.
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