We evaluated the reproductive contribution of stocked Largemouth Bass Micropterus salmoides relative to resident populations. The reproductive contribution of stocked fish was determined using the MDH-B2* allele as a genetic tag for fingerlings stocked into five study lakes. We first determined the relative survival of stocked fish by calculating the proportion of adults (which were clipped at stocking) in the population and compared it with initial survival the first fall after stocking. Stocked fish relative survival to adulthood varied among the five study lakes and was lower than initial survival after stocking. Once these stocked fish were mature, it was possible to assess their reproductive contribution to each population by comparing the prestocking frequencies of the MDH-B2* allele with poststocking frequencies. Reproductive contribution of stocked fish was high in small lakes but relatively low in larger ones. Neither adult Largemouth Bass density nor prey density affected reproductive contribution of stocked fish. Based on the proportion of stocked adults in the populations, reproductive contribution of stocked fish was similar to that of wild fish. Our results indicate that reproductive contribution of stocked fish will depend on survival of stocked fish to maturity. The influence of stocked fish will likely persist in successive generations, and potential genetic effects on wild populations of Largemouth Bass should be taken into account when making stocking decisions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science