Lake Norman Black Bass Management and Research

Since 2001, a major shift has occurred in the black bass fishery at Lake Norman — a 32,510-acre reservoir located in Catawba, Iredell, Mecklenburg and Lincoln counties. Alabama Bass were introduced into the reservoir via unauthorized stocking(s) prior to 2001 and their numbers rapidly increased before leveling around 2010. Largemouth Bass, which were the only black bass species present in the reservoir until 2001, have declined in abundance over the same period of time.

 

F1 Largemouth Bass Tagging and Stocking Project

To address a nearly two-decade decline in the Largemouth Bass population in Lake Norman, fisheries biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission tagged and stocked 2,000 F1 Largemouth Bass into the lake in October, 2020. F1 Largemouth Bass are a cross between a pure strain Northern Largemouth Bass and a pure strain Florida Largemouth Bass. In other reservoirs, these hybrid Largemouth Bass grow faster and to larger sizes than their pure strain counterparts, so biologists are hopeful this stocking will, over time, improve the Largemouth Bass fishery in the lake.

The fish were donated by a group of Lake Norman anglers and stocked in four locations in the lake, which were selected based on appropriate habitat, past survey results and stocking logistics. 

Download a one-page project summary. (PDF)

Download the Lake Norman F-1 Stocking Program - Spring 2021 Electrofishing Results (PDF)

Project Initiatives

Before stocking, biologists:

  • Tagged all fish in the cheek with a coded wire tag in order to determine, in the future, which fish are of stocked origin. The wire is so small that it is nearly indectable by the naked eye. During upcoming surveys, they will use a coded wired tag detector to find tagged fish.
  • Weighed and measured a subsample of fish to determine an estimated size at time of stocking. On average, fish were 7.8 inches in length and weighed 0.23 pounds.
  • Collected a tissue from the subsample of fish. These samples will be processed to ensure genetics are that of F1 Largemouth Bass.


What’s Next?

In spring of 2021 and 2022, biologists will:

  • Stock fingerling F1 Largemouth Bass. 
  • Complete electrofishing surveys at the four stocking locations and continue with additional surveys in the following years.

 

Alabama Bass in Lake Norman

Since the unauthorized introduction of Alabama Bass into Lake Norman prior to 2001, fisheries biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission have monitored the expansion of the Alabama Bass population and the effects of the introduction on Largemouth Bass in the reservoir. Biologists have documented their findings in several formats linked below: