- Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 May 2012 00:00
- Published on Wednesday, 23 May 2012 00:00
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VDGIF fisheries biologists completed their spring 2012 sampling of reservoirs in Northern Virginia for largemouth bass. Largemouth bass are one of the top species of gamefish targeted by anglers. Other top gamefish include catfish and crappie. Most anglers that target largemouth bass do so for the thrill and not so much the table fare as catfish and crappie anglers do. That is not to say that largemouth bass are not good table fare. They are, particularly if you eat the smaller bass.
Fisheries biologists use electrofishing methods during the day to “shock” the fish to the surface where they are scooped up, measured, weighed and returned to the water in less than a minute to fight another day. Since bass are often sought by so called trophy anglers, biologists compare data in several ways. Preferred fish (RSD-P) are fish that measure more than 15 inches and are also over 8 inches. CPE-P or catch per effort of preferred fish is how many fish over 15 inches are caught during one hour of electrofishing. In both cases the higher the number the larger the percentage of large fish in the impoundment, or the more abundant the large fish were.
Weather and dates should be consistent for an accurate comparison from year to year, and biologists make every effort to keep them consistent.
The top five impoundments for bass, according to the rankings of VDGIF, include Pelham with a CPE-P of 83, Germantown with a CPE-P of 50, Occoquan with a CPE-P of 49, Burke with a CPE-P of 36, and Lake Anna with a CPE-P of 31. Hunting Run had a CPE-P of 16 and Motts fell down the list with a CPE-P of 11 tying it with Lunga at Quantico. Lake Orange and Lake Curtis came down the list even further but still remain viable fisheries.
It is interesting to note that the large impoundments of Occoquan and Lake Anna did so well considering they were compared against small impoundments. When sampling a lake, biologists can more easily dissect a smaller water than a large water. With so many more acres (Occoquan at 2,100 and Anna at 9,600) of water for bass to thrive in the results are rather impressive that they fared so well.
John Odenkirk, fisheries biologist, noted many of the best district lakes (for big bass per hour) were consistent producers year-after-year such as Burke and Occoquan; but each year, a “sleeper” lake emerges. This year, it was Germantown – this small reservoir in Fauquier County just off Route 28 produced an extraordinary catch rate of large fish. Also, Hunting Run appeared to be improving. Odenkirk shared that the memorable sized fish, those over 21 inches long, led the list of regional lakes at Hunting Run in terms of numbers.