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Largemouth Bass

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/fish/bass/largemouth/index.html

According to the Minnesota DNR, “Though the largemouth tolerates turbid water, it favors lakes with clear water, sandy shallows and abundant rooted aquatic weeds….The largemouth is a “warm-water” species.  It flourishes in waters warmer than 80 degrees and can survive temperatures in the mid-90’s.  The largemouth need water of 2 to 6 feet deep with firm sand, mud or gravel to spawn.”   In other words, the largemouth bass is a perfect fit for the waters of Norway Lake!

Unfortunately, their numbers in Norway Lake aren’t what they could be.  While it’s true that largemouth bass aren’t commonly caught in DNR nets, during the 2009 survey of Norway Lake only one largemouth was caught compared to 86 northern pike.  With largemouth bass and northerns competing for the same food supply 60% of the year, largemouth in Norway are at a significant disadvantage.

One study has shown that reducing the number of small pike in lakes can lead to a significant increase in the largemouth bass population.  On Norway Lake, the DNR recommends keeping all northerns under 24″ in length (respecting legal limits, of course) and releasing those 24″ and longer.

Increasing the largemouth bass population could in turn lead to larger bluegills as largemouth are major consumers of bluegills up to one-quarter their body length, preying upon them in dense weed beds.  Reducing the number of smaller bluegills leaves more food available for the survivors, allowing them to grow larger – assuming catch and release of those larger bluegills!