DNREC announced today, as part of the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife's ongoing Largemouth Bass Conservation Program, the Division's Fisheries Section stocked more than 15,000 largemouth bass fingerlings in three water bodies this year.
Between July 30 and Aug. 31, approximately 8,813 advanced fingerlings measuring 3 to 5 inches long were stocked in the Nanticoke River/Broad Creek near Laurel, and 2,005 were stocked in the Broadkill River near Milton. The fingerlings were the result of local brood stock collected this past spring from the Nanticoke River and taken to Eastern Shore Fisheries, an aquaculture facility in Maryland. After spawning naturally, the adults were returned to the river and the fry were monitored until they reached a length of 3 inches, a size which increases their survival in the wild.
“Largemouth bass must cope with challenging environmental conditions in tidal waters, such as high predation, water level extremes and tidal currents, resulting in limited spawning success, and variable survival and growth of young to catchable size,” said Freshwater Fisheries Program Manager Michael Stangl. “Given the popularity of these water bodies with anglers, fishing pressure is also high, which is why catch-and-release fishing practiced by most bass anglers is also important.”
In addition to tidal river stockings, 4,700 fingerlings were stocked in Records Pond near Laurel to restore the pond’s largemouth bass population since many bass were washed downstream when the water level was lowered to protect the pond dam in preparation for Hurricane Sandy last fall. Spring surveys revealed that the number of bass in the pond is currently low, so the Division of Fish and Wildlife is requesting that anglers practice catch-and-release through 2014 to allow the population time to re-establish.