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Tuesday, January 26 • 1:20pm - 1:40pm
Changes In Largemouth Bass Habitat Use, Home Range Size, and Movement in Response to a Large-Scale Habitat Enhancement

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AUTHORS: Chance Kirkeeng*, South Dakota State University, Department of Natural Resource Management; Jason Breeggemann*, South Dakota State University, Department of Natural Resource Management; Brian Graeb, South Dakota State University, Department of Natural Resource Management; Katie Bertrand, South Dakota State University, Department of Natural Resource Management; Troy Grovenburg, South Dakota State University, Department of Natural Resource Management; Bob Lusk, Pond Boss Magazine

ABSTRACT: Reservoir aging and the resulting loss of structural habitat can limit productivity, such as growth rates, of fishes such as largemouth bass in North America. Habitat enhancement using artificial structure could provide the necessary resources to more efficiently transfer energy to largemouth bass thereby increasing population growth rate and reducing home range size. We evaluated the effects of habitat enhancement on largemouth bass in a 60-year-old reservoir. We used radio telemetry to quantify annual and seasonal home range sizes, habitat use, and daily movement of largemouth bass before and after a large-scale artificial habitat addition (i.e., artificial habitat was added to cover approximately 10% of the shoreline area). Prior to the habitat addition, home ranges during the growing season averaged nearly 8 hectares with a maximum of 25 hectares and annual home ranges averaged 9 hectares with a maximum of 28 hectares. Additionally, daily movement rates were very high with some largemouth bass moving as far as 2.25 km in 24 hours. Our results one year post-enhancement showed that daily activity decreased, growth rates increased, and largemouth bass selected for artificial habitat over all other available habitat in the lake. Home range sizes remained similar to the pre-enhancement period. Our results indicated that largemouth bass quickly responded to habitat restoration, but that more habitat may be needed to affect seasonal home ranges. Artificial habitat can be used in aging reservoirs to enhance available habitat.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
Atrium