Why all the big bass now?

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ Ricky Yeldell pointed to two reasons for the recent rash of trophy bass coming from the waters of Toledo Bend.

“I think the first answer has to do with the stocking records of Florida bass fingerlings occurring between 2000 and 2005,” Yeldell said. “Both Louisiana and the state of Texas have contributed to these stockings.”

A review of the 2000-05 stocking records from the LDWF and Texas Parks and Wildlife reveal that almost 7.5 million Florida-strain fingerlings were released into Toledo Bend waters.

“When we looked at the genetics on some of the fish above 10 pounds taken on Toledo Bend, the majority were either pure Florida bass or (first-generation Florida/native hybrids),” he said. “These are the real go-getters (in terms of growth), and this has a large influence on what Toledo Bend anglers are currently catching.”

A further analysis of data indicates that in 2012 genetic analysis of largemouth bass found the presence of the Florida gene in 32.7 percent of the Toledo Bend bass sampled by the LDWF.

Another major reason for the current Toledo Bend lunker bass parade has to do with the record-low lake levels in 2011, Yeldell said.

“These low lake levels allowed terrestrial vegetation to sprout on the shorelines,” he explained. “As a result ,when the waters returned you had a miniature effect like the first time the reservoir was flooded.”

The reflooded areas were very fertile, with the newly submerged vegetation attracting everything that feeds in such areas, including baitfish that in turn attract bass and other predators.

And the veteran fisheries biologist said the great fishing should continue.

“I remain pretty positive about the future in terms of big bass,” Yeldell said. “I think the bass fishing will be even better in the next two years.”

About Chris Berzas 368 Articles
Chris Berzas has fished and hunted in the Bayou State ever since he could hold a rod and shoot a shotgun. Berzas has been a freelancer featured in newspapers, magazines, television and DVDs since 1989.