Coarse woody habitat (CWH) may be a critical feature of lakes that influences fish distributions, movement patterns, and feeding habits. We used radio telemetry to examine the role of CWH in determining the movements of largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides Lacepede) in the context of two whole-lake experiments that provided a gradient of four lake basins varying in natural and manipulated CWH. We also conducted diet studies on largemouth bass in these lakes to test for correlates among consumption rate and prey selectivity with bass behavior. Our results indicated that largemouth bass in basins with lower CWH abundances had larger home ranges, spent more time in deep water, were more selective predators, and showed lower consumption rates. Largemouth bass in basins with higher CWH abundances showed the opposite patterns. Low CWH abundances were correlated with a shift in largemouth bass foraging behavior from sit-and-wait to actively searching. This increased activity, coupled with the potential decline of prey fish species in the absence of CWH, may decrease largemouth bass growth potential regardless of the prey type consumed. Our results suggest that lakeshore residential development and associated removals of CWH from lakes may influence fish behavior, while CWH augmentation may reverse some of those changes. (c) 2008 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Ahrenstorff, T. D., Sass, G. G., & Helmus, M. R. (2009). The influence of littoral zone coarse woody habitat on home range size, spatial distribution, and feeding ecology of largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides). Hydrobiologia, 623(1), 1--11. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-008-9660-1