KENTUCKY LAKE – The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) has partnered with a private group to stock additional pure Florida strain largemouth bass into Kentucky Lake.
Mr. Charlie Ingram led the effort to raise funds from local counties to stock approximately 300,000 young Florida strain bass obtained from the American Sportfish Hatchery in Alabama.
The stockings occurred on May 26 and May 28 in nine embayments in Henry and Benton counties: Big Sandy, Bennetts Creek, Lick Creek, Bass Bay (Little Crooked Creek), Sulphur Creek, Beaverdam Creek, Cypress Creek, and Birdsong Creek.
“This effort complements TWRA’s ongoing bass stocking efforts by stocking more locations thus increasing the likelihood of Florida bass spawning with the native bass population” said Fisheries Biologist Michael Clark.
Mr. Clark also stated that “Since 2015 TWRA has stocked nearly 900,000 Florida strain bass in Harmon, Blue, and Eagle creeks and evaluations of those stockings are ongoing.”
TWRA completed the 2020 Kentucky Lake stocking of approximately 150,000 Florida largemouth bass in May, including 15,000 stocked into the Beech River embayment.
The objective of this project is to increase the presence of Florida genes in the population to produce larger bass. The stocking of additional bass in the Lake is not expected to increase bass population abundance due to natural limitations.
The success of the project relies on the creation of hybrids when the Florida and native strains spawn.
Frank Fiss, Chief of Fisheries stated that “Hybrid bass have demonstrated greater growth potential than native bass in Chickamauga Lake and the TWRA is hoping for similar success in Kentucky Lake. Chickamauga Lake produced a state record largemouth bass (15lb 3oz), which was a first generation hybrid bass.”
The Agency will be evaluating the genetic status of the largemouth bass population over time to track project progress which will inform future stocking decisions.