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Spotted bass take over!!!

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ahhh I don't know about you guys but all the places that I fish are being taken over by Spotted Bass. Every Bass I catch is Spotted. It drives me nuts. I mean Spots are great but I can't remember the last time I reeled a largie in. How about you guys...are they taking over your holes too?

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No, I wish we had them here in Florida. They are my favorite bass to catch. I think they fight as hard as a similar sized Smallie, & they are the prettiest of the bass also. Of course this is my opinion.

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During the months that I focus on smallmouth, we probably catch two spots for every smallie, three white bass and largemouth one to one. I haven't noticed any particular variation in these relative proportions over the past several years. What is noticable is an increased percentage of catfish and drum. Commercial fishing has disappeared from the Tennessee River because of the competition from farm raised catfish. Generally, that's probably a good thing for most species, but the catfish are annoying.

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Yeah Catfish kinda suck. Sorry for those who like to catch them. They are definitely a pain in the you now what...

I forgot to mention that when I briefly lived in Atlanta and fished Lake Lanier allot. I wondered why it is almost impossible to catch a LMB but can catch Spotted bass all day long. The locals told me that they did take over that lake and pushed the LMB back into creeks. I never caught 1 LMB as I never fished in the creeks. I caught quite a few Spotted bass though.

Kinda weird that they can dominate a water body so. They are aggressive bass for sure and through sheer numbers I suppose they can take over a water body.

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Did you ever say a mouthful ! Those overpopulating, trophy-bass-destroying little pieces of #$%@ !

Spotted bass have ruined so many once great fisheries over here in California, its just sick :-( Now don't get me wrong, in the right places, (and their are not really any hard and set rules, as to which places will be the "right places") Spotted bass can be great sportfish. They are pretty. They fight hard. They are agressive, and easy for the general bass angler to catch.

The big problem with Spotted Bass is that in so many places, they will overpopulate, and the ravenous little juveniles will outcompete the juvenile Largemouths. Now, little Spotted Bass have no "direct" effect on adult Largemouths. In fact, if a 1 lb Spot got to close to a hungry 10 lb Florida Largemouth, it might even become dinner. However, ovbiously you have to have little Largemouths thriving, and surviving to adulthood, to replace the big trophy Florida bass, as they die off from old age, and of course sometimes, meat hunters, and wall hangers.

With some research, I could provide you a mile long list of previously great bass fisheries here in Cali, which have been basically destroyed by Spotted bass, but just off of the top of my head, here are a few of the more well known places: Lk. Shasta, Lk. Oroville, Camanche, etc. My old favorite trophy lake San Pablo Dam Res. was invaded by spotted bass about 4 years ago also, and I personally believe the trophy Largemouths will be completely gone from there within 6 to 10 years. Remember, it takes a while for this to happen, because any Largemouth bass which are already 4 or 5 lbs will not be affected, and they will be able to live out the rest of there full life.... but when they are gone, they are gone. With nothing coming up behind them to replace them, that will be the end of the line.

......and once Spotted Bass have taken hold, there is nothing short of draining a lake, which can get rid of them ! IMPO, Spotted Bass are MUCH more detrimental, to a lot more lakes, than are the common Carp, which so many people complain about.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now, if you had a lake with no Largemouths to begin with, which was managed well (Selective Harvest) and which produced a lot of nice 3 to 5 lb Spots, with the occasional 5 to 7, or maybe even larger, that would be all good. (except that you will always have some idiots who want to pretend like they are the F/G, and will illegally transport, and introduce Spots from one place to the other :-(

Urgggg....

Fish

PS, Even completely aside from what Spotted bass often do to a trophy bass fishery......

Spotted bass tend to overpopulate really quickly, and you will end up with a stunted population of underfed little dinks. Unless the place has tons of good forage, and the anglers practice a bunch of "Selective Harvest" to keep the numbers down...... But heck, if you have a place like that, with no bass in it, why not put some REAL bass in it ? :-) (Florida strainers of course :-)

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you probably catch them every time out and don't realize it. They fool a lot of people. Next time you catch waht you think is a largie look and the hinge on the outside of its mouth. If it lines up with the back of its eye its a spot if it extends past the eye its a largie. Spots have smallmouth heads

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Range - While widely distributed outside Florida, the spotted bass is restricted to streams of the panhandle from the Perdido River to the Apalachicola River. Abundance is limited in this area, but the fish primarily occurs in and west of the Choctawhatchee River.

None east of the Panhandle area.

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Posted by: Fish Chris Posted on: Today at 11:21am

Did you ever say a mouthful ! Those overpopulating, trophy-bass-destroying little pieces of #$%@ !

Spotted bass have ruined so many once great fisheries over here in California, its just sick Now don't get me wrong, in the right places, (and their are not really any hard and set rules, as to which places will be the "right places") Spotted bass can be great sportfish. They are pretty. They fight hard. They are agressive, and easy for the general bass angler to catch.

The big problem with Spotted Bass is that in so many places, they will overpopulate, and the ravenous little juveniles will outcompete the juvenile Largemouths. Now, little Spotted Bass have no "direct" effect on adult Largemouths. In fact, if a 1 lb Spot got to close to a hungry 10 lb Florida Largemouth, it might even become dinner. However, ovbiously you have to have little Largemouths thriving, and surviving to adulthood, to replace the big trophy Florida bass, as they die off from old age, and of course sometimes, meat hunters, and wall hangers.

With some research, I could provide you a mile long list of previously great bass fisheries here in Cali, which have been basically destroyed by Spotted bass, but just off of the top of my head, here are a few of the more well known places: Lk. Shasta, Lk. Oroville, Camanche, etc. My old favorite trophy lake San Pablo Dam Res. was invaded by spotted bass about 4 years ago also, and I personally believe the trophy Largemouths will be completely gone from there within 6 to 10 years. Remember, it takes a while for this to happen, because any Largemouth bass which are already 4 or 5 lbs will not be affected, and they will be able to live out the rest of there full life.... but when they are gone, they are gone. With nothing coming up behind them to replace them, that will be the end of the line.

......and once Spotted Bass have taken hold, there is nothing short of draining a lake, which can get rid of them ! IMPO, Spotted Bass are MUCH more detrimental, to a lot more lakes, than are the common Carp, which so many people complain about.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now, if you had a lake with no Largemouths to begin with, which was managed well (Selective Harvest) and which produced a lot of nice 3 to 5 lb Spots, with the occasional 5 to 7, or maybe even larger, that would be all good. (except that you will always have some idiots who want to pretend like they are the F/G, and will illegally transport, and introduce Spots from one place to the other

Urgggg....

Fish

PS, Even completely aside from what Spotted bass often do to a trophy bass fishery......

Spotted bass tend to overpopulate really quickly, and you will end up with a stunted population of underfed little dinks. Unless the place has tons of good forage, and the anglers practice a bunch of "Selective Harvest" to keep the numbers down...... But heck, if you have a place like that, with no bass in it, why not put some REAL bass in it ? (Florida strainers of course

::)WOW IGNORANCE AT ITS FINEST.

I used to think the same thing about spotted bass, I used to be just as (spot prejudice) as you. Then my dad and I weighed in 15 pounds of spotted bass a couple of weekends ago, take home a couple thousand dollars, I changed my mind.

I know what you're thinking Chris- by god i'll catch 15 pounds of fish in one cast, because you've made it very clear that you are world friggin' renowned as far as catching big fish goes. But for the tournament fisherman, spotted bass can be a very efficient way of filling your limit and winning the tournament. Now as far as taking over the lake and taking all the food from the largemouth.

Largemouth have just as much of a chance of surviving as spots. A largemouth is a very different fish and prefers different habitat and forage. I've seen (dead lakes) fill up with spots and all of a sudden the resident largemouth just boom, the reason- competiiton. The little yearling largemouth will fight just as hard as the little spots and they will find a way to make it through, after all, a largemouth lives longer and has a faster growth rate than a spot.

So basically your big fish will be just fine, because they prefer forage bigger than most of those pesky little spots, and the little largies will find a way, because after all it is nature, and in nature they live together. :)

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I would put my fisheries knowledge against yours anytime......

.......but I might have a hard time, having a legitimate, friendly interaction, with anyone who started their reply to my post with >>> WOW IGNORANCE AT ITS FINEST. <<<

I would just hope that 'your' fisheries knowledge, is greater than your people skills.

Fish

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qoute from JTbassman.....

WOW IGNORANCE AT ITS FINEST.

I used to think the same thing about spotted bass, I used to be just as (spot prejudice) as you. Then my dad and I weighed in 15 pounds of spotted bass a couple of weekends ago, take home a couple thousand dollars, I changed my mind.

I know what you're thinking Chris- by god i'll catch 15 pounds of fish in one cast, because you've made it very clear that you are world friggin' renowned as far as catching big fish goes. But for the tournament fisherman, spotted bass can be a very efficient way of filling your limit and winning the tournament. Now as far as taking over the lake and taking all the food from the largemouth.

Largemouth have just as much of a chance of surviving as spots. A largemouth is a very different fish and prefers different habitat and forage. I've seen (dead lakes) fill up with spots and all of a sudden the resident largemouth just boom, the reason- competiiton. The little yearling largemouth will fight just as hard as the little spots and they will find a way to make it through, after all, a largemouth lives longer and has a faster growth rate than a spot.

So basically your big fish will be just fine, because they prefer forage bigger than most of those pesky little spots, and the little largies will find a way, because after all it is nature, and in nature they live together.

This was about the stupidest post I have ever seen. Some great points, but you took it WAY to far. Ever since Fish_Chris has gotten here, he has done nothing but put excellent advise on upping the size of your catch. I have learned so much from his posts. There always super informative, and everytime I read one it makes me wanna go out there and get a good one. I'm sure alot of people are gonna bash you for this one! grow up, if your gonna make a point, make it nicely

Ryan

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I think jtbassman probably has his mind made up already, about Spotted Bass, but for everyone who wants to know more....

Often times people think.... "Oh, well this is coming from Fish Chris, and all he cares about are the giants anyway"...... Okay... there might be some truth to that, but check this out;

With those couple examples I gave (Lk. Shasta, and Lk. Oroville) Both of those lakes used to kick out good numbers of 3 to 7 lb Northern strain Largemouths, and lots of Smallies to 5 lbs. Honestly, that was before my time... leastwise, before I was old enough to drive / pull a boat. But I have heard countless stories about how great "the tournament fishing used to be" ! 20 to 25 lb limits were very common. Then came the introduction of Spots, and things just went downhill from there. Nowadays those same tournament guys (or their kids) are lucky to get a 10 or 12 lb limit (although swimbaits are kind of changing that, but that's a whole different subject...... I can't imagine what swimbaits would have done at Shasta and Oroville "before" the introduction of Spotted bass !)

Admittedly, there are lakes which still have a good population of Largemouths, even some trophy sized fish "in spite of the Spotted Bass" (my home lake Berryessa is a good example of such). Talking with two of my fisheries biologist buddies, I have found that there are apparently no hard and fast rules, which can determine ahead of time, which fisheries will be devastated by Spots, and which will not. Its pretty much a hit and miss. Maybe about 50/50.

The bottom line is, at least in Western lakes, Spotted bass DO overpopulate, and become stunted, quicker, and more often, than Largemouths, and they DO ruin a fairly large percentage of Largemouth fisheries.

Peace (no, really :-)

Fish

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jtbassman,

You may have had a point in there somewhere, but your lack of respect and courtesy overwhelmed it.

While you're completely entitled to your opinion, and in fact encouraged to state it, all I ask is that you do it in a respectful and courteous manner.  Now that's not too much to ask, is it?   :)

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Thank you Glenn.

Ya' know Captain Cali, that is an interesting question. I have read that Spotted Bass prefer clear water, with rocky substrates. (of course like most bass, they will often do well in less than perfect conditions). Anyway, they sure seem to be doing pretty darn good at my old favorite San Pablo.... in spite of the muddy water, and soft mud / silt bottom.

The thing about the Spots at Pablo, that is of particular concern to me, is the fact that this lake was never a "numbers" type of place to begin with. I always felt that Pablos low recruitement of bass, was a large part of why the ones that did make it, got so large ! More food and space for the few that made it....... and this already low recruitement was "before" the introduction of Spotted bass ! I'm telling you.... That place is doomed ! :-(

Fish

PS, But just to prove that I can step back and look at this situation from a larger perspective, I will have to admit.... When the Spots do eventually take over, there will probably be a large group of guys who never caught bass from Pablo before, at all, who are now catching 10 or 20, or more Spotted bass per trip (granted they might only be 10" to 12") and are just tickled to death because of it :-)

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Thanks Chris. What about water temperature? Do Spots prefer colder water, like Smallmouth, or warmer water like Largemouth?

LMAO...I was just looking at both of our avatars. The bass in mine looks like a minnow compared to yours!

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I have heard that Spots prefer cooler water, but again, they will survive in warmer water too.

On that note, San Pablo is quite a bit cooler in the Summer, and warmer in the Winter, than most of our other Nor Cal lakes, because of its close proximity to the Pacific Ocean. A great temp regulator. This is another one of the factors that I think made Pablo such a great trophy Largemouth lake in the past. Unfortunately, it will probably benefit the Spots in the very same way.

Hmmmm,

Fish

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As a spotted bass guide here in Georgia and having fished for them for 20+ years, Chris pretty much hit the nail on the head.  Spots are and can be considered a nuisance fish similiar to Crappie in the way that they over reproduce and also due to their aggressiveness.  Spots definitely don't need clear or deep water to survive.  All of the Coosa chain lakes are not clear nor deep by my standards and have tons of wood cover.  Lanier and Allatoona are somewhat clear and deep.  I loved catching them in the Pearl River of Mississippi and that place gets muddier than a rancid Yohoo.  Typically what happens is once you get spots in a lake they slowly but surely take over their market share of the lake.  There are some lakes that are exceptions to the rule with Wheeler being one of them.  Wheeler harbors a great population of Smallies, Spots and Largemouth primarily because the lake can easily be divided into 3 different lakes due to it's makeup.  Spots love the current and river portion of the lake,  Largemouth like the grass portion and the smallies seem to like the River portion as well as the deep bluff wall portion of the lake.  Also, Both Lanier, West Point and Allatoona used to be GREAT largemouth lakes and you caught spots every now and then.  Now both lakes are probably 80% spots and 20% heads.  Granted if you catch a largemouth it's usually a pretty good fish 3lbs +.  Now Lanier is what I consider probably the best spot lake in the world.  There might be some Cali lakes that can hang with it but nothing else here in the South, East or Midwest can even come close to holding a candle to it.  I will say that some of the extreme north GA lakes are coming on strong.  We enjoy or spots here in North Georgia but we certainly don't want to ruin some good largemouth lakes just to catch a spot here and there.  

Just my .02

T Mike

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Fish Chris, What actions have the California department of natural resources (not sure what they are called) done to address this problem?.

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As far as spots go I have noticed a more negative effect on the smallmouth population that largemouth. I live in the mountains of NC and most of our lakes have smallies and largemouth that co-exist well together. Simple fact being is real estate. L/M don't hang out in the same places in great abundance as smallmouths do, so there is little competition between the two. Now the complete opposite can be said of the areas that spots and smallies populate. I have seen the almost complete demise of the smallie on Lake Chatuge since the introduction of spots. reason being is the composistion of the lake. There are few ideal places that the smallies feel "at home" on this lake. It is a lake that is high up in the mountains, but fishes very similar to a resevoir in the foot hills. It is not as deep as a mountain resevoir, ( a mere 120 feet or so at the dam as opposed to 300+ on most others), It is more of a bowl with coves than a ravine that has been flooded, has some rock, but not as much as other surrounding lakes in the area. Most of the rock was on sumberged humps or points near channel bends. Prime spots for both. There for the feeding grounds for smallies and spots were virtually the same. So far to date, the smallies lost.

Other lakes that host both smallies and spots, have not been as negativly effected. Due to composistion with deeper structure and more rocky banks the smallies have been able to hold their on so to speak. Numbers have declined some, but you are catching some spots now that were not there before.

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Spots can be both a good thing and a bad thing. Most of the lakes in Okla that have spots in them are clear rocky lakes. Some have a slot limit on them 13-16" so people are encouraged to take them home, they are good eating. Crappie fishermen tear them up, and they keep them, thats helping with the over population problem. On some lakes there is no length limit on them at all, this has taken a while but we are starting to see some 3-4 lb spots a weigh-ins. Let your wildlife dept know about it, and dont practice catch and release with them. Our club has donated whole ice chests full of spots to a local boys club basketball team fish fry for years. Yes it is ok to eat spotted bass, & It might help you lake.

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replica,  There really isn't much any DNR can do about the problem other than manage what is already there.  One thing that can and needs to be done is keeping the small spots.  We are in a day and age of Catch and Release and unfortunately catch and release can be a BAD thing in some lakes.  

Ernel,  I have seen similiar things in what you have described with smallies vs spots.  They don't seem to coexist very well.  Blue Ridge is another example.  I've always wanted to fish Chatuge and the other lakes up in North GA but I keep putting them off.  I hear great things about some of those lakes.  I might have to disagree with you about the Largemouth not being affected by the spots as much as the smallies but that might be a close coin toss.  The spots have pretty much holed the largemouth to the very backs of our creeks for the most part.  We have gone from 50/50 to 80/20 and I bet it's probably closer to 90/10 now.  I try to keep in tone with the largemouth by visitin other lakes that are more suited to the largemouth.  The heads and spots are 2 completely different fish with different habits and habitats that they like to be around.  Great discussion!

Mike

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When I read your first line > As a spotted bass guide here in Georgia and having fished for them for 20+ years < I thought, "Oh no ! He's gonna' rip me to pieces" ! But I was pleasantly relieved as I read on :-)

So hey you guys, listen to Triton Mike !!! :-)

Anyway, yes, Spots can be a great sportfish, "when properly managed".... but then they can be a pretty much 'hit and miss' proposition too. Lots of luck involved.

Like I had said, my home lake Berryessa has a bunch of Spots (mostly small) but still produces a decent number of trout-eating Florida strainers also. Then their is another lake near Sacramento called Lk. Folsom, which produces a big Florida hawg every now and again, AND it produces some really really nice Spotted bass too ! 5's are fairly common.

Then, I will even have admit, that their was once a trophy Spotted bass lake down in So Cal called Lk. Perris..... until somebody put Florida strains in there, and the Floridas wiped out the Spots ! (only case of this I have ever heard of) but the point is, the way Spotted bass mix, with other species / fisheries, is a very unpredictable thing.

Another thing I hate to admit, is that in many respects, the Ca DFG actually likes having Spotted bass in a lot of our lakes, reason being, that then, a lot of guys who might have a very hard time catching finicky, trout-fed Florida strain bass, will actually be able to go out and catch something, even if the fish are small. {That was a direct quote from a Ca DFG senior biologist... a buddy of mine}

Oh, but yes, Spots often hurt Smallie populations even more than Largemouths.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So with all that we have discussed about Spotted bass in this thread, I just have to say it again; I love to catch good sized Spotted bass, just as much as I do Crappie, Carp, Sturgeon, Halibut, etc, etc...... I just don't like the effect they have on many fisheries. But where ever they do well, and don't adversly affect the other species.... Fish on ! :-)

Peace,

Fish

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