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Lake life

Bone Bass Better Than Average

Mike Wood talks to the D'Arbonne Lake Commission Monday night about recent bass study results.

Mike Wood talks to the D’Arbonne Lake Commission Monday night about recent bass study results.

Bass fishing populations in Lake D’Arbonne are better than average and a recent three-year Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries study called the Louisiana Largemouth Bass Project showed there is no reason to change any regulations or put in length limits on bass on the lake.

That was the report given to the D’Arbonne Lake Commission Monday night by Inland Fisheries head Mike Wood and LDWF biologist Ryan Daniel, who oversees the fishery at D’Arbonne.

“The health of the fish we sampled was excellent and the fish weighed what they were supposed to weigh,” Daniel said. “In fact, recruitment of the bass — that is the number of new bass entering the population through spawning, was the best of the 11 lakes we studied.”

The study also showed that  body condition of D’Arbonne bass was “robust” and that they good physical condition of the bass generally is the product of an adequate food supply that is readily available to predation (in other words there’s lot for the fish to eat and it’s easy to get to!). One of the more significant findings is consistently good recruitment of young largemouths into the lake. The good news there is that favorable water fluctuation, quality spawning areas and adequate cover for fingerlings are all plusses for the lake.

One very interesting fact that was revealed in the study is that only 18% of the bass caught by anglers on the lake were kept. The rest were released. The study showed that fishing mortality for largemouth bass on the lake was much lower than would have been expected. Natural causes such as disease and predation were larger factors.

Here’s the summary of the report: “Length distribution, age structure, growth rate, and mortality rate were found to be normal for the lake population. Largemouth bass harvest is low, but total angler induced mortality is moderately high when post release mortality is included. The dynamics of the D’Arbonne Lake bass population and the current characteristics of D’Arbonne lake anglers are such that size restrictive regulations would have a relatively insignificant effect on the population.

NOTE: A similar study was also done for crappie on the lake. The results of that study and further recommendations will be released in the next few weeks.

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