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TWRA stocking hybrid bass into the Boone Reservoir

Photo by Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources • TWRA will try to boost populations of bass in Boone Lake with stockings of a cross between Northern largemouth bass and Florida largemouth bass.

From Staff Reports

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will be releasing 50,000 F1 Largemouth Bass into Boone Reservoir this Thursday, June 10 in an effort to enhance the fishery following repairs to the dam.  The F1 fish, which is a first-generation cross between Northern Largemouth Bass and Florida Largemouth Bass, were purchased by TWRA from American Sport Fish Hatchery Management in Montgomery Alabama.

At approximately 4 p.m., half of the fish will be distributed into the South Fork Holston River arm of Boone Reservoir at the Airport Boat Ramp, followed by the remainder being placed into the Watauga River arm at Sonny’s Marina.

TWRA Region 4 Fisheries Program Coordinator Bart Carter says, “One of the main benefits of the F1 fish involves crossing the much bigger Florida strain bass that are harder to catch with the aggressive Northern strain that are generally easier to catch.  In the past, we stocked pure, Florida Largemouth Bass into reservoirs, but it takes years for these fish to mature and naturally cross with the Northern strain.  Stocking the F1 cross will jump-start the process of producing a bigger, more aggressive fish sooner.”

Repairs on Boone Dam were initiated in 2015 and the reservoir pool was lowered to facilitate those repairs. With the reservoir returning to normal operation, the Agency realizes the opportunity to evaluate how these bass will do in what should be ideal conditions to grow big bass. The abundance of new natural and planted cover in the reservoir will enhance the survivability and growth of the bass released annually during the three-year project.  Future genetic testing of the Largemouth Bass population in Boone Reservoir will be used to determine the project’s success.

Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Tommy Woods says, “These F1 bass will be a tremendous addition to the Boone Reservoir fishery.  The idea was brought to the agency by former Commissioner Chad Baker a number of years ago and this begins a multi-year stocking program one year ahead of schedule!  I’d like to thank everyone at TWRA who was involved for helping make this happen and I extend my gratitude to our local anglers for volunteering their time and equipment.”