R. Dean Beck

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Wildlife and Fisheries Science


Five fish stocking combinations were evaluated to determine effects of forage availability and geographic location on largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) growth, survival, and reproductive success two and three years following stocking. Four forage species stocked with largemouth bass included bluegills (Lepomis macrochirus), black bullheads (Ictalurus melas), golden shiners (Notemigonus crysoleucas), and fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas). A largemouth bass only stocking strategy was also evaluated. Largemouth bass survival two years after stocking in eastern South Dakota ponds averaged 26.5%. Largemouth bass only and largemouth bass-bluegill combinations exhibited the greatest survival rates (31.6% and 28.8%, respectively), while the largemouth bass-black bullhead combination showed the poorest largemouth bass survival (8.4%). Mean annual survival of age-I largemouth bass in all stocking combinations was 58.6%. Mean total lengths after two growing seasons ranged from 270 mm for largemouth bass-golden shiner combinations to 324 mm for a largemouth bass-fathead minnow combination, with a grand total length for all stocking combinations of 286 mm. Largemouth bass averaged 317 mm in length and 500 g in weight at the end of the third growing season. Largemouth bass condition was good with Relative Weight values averaging 102 after three growing seasons. Largemouth bass-bluegill ponds supported the greatest biomass of largemouth bass after two growing seasons (77.0 kg/hectare). Largemouth bass-black bullhead ponds supported only 8.0 kg/hectare. Analysis of variance indicated no significant differences (P > 0.05) in second and third year largemouth bass total lengths, survival, and condition due to forage species stocked or geographic region of South Dakota. Minimum pond depth explained 43.0% of the variation in second year growth in length. Largemouth bass did not spawn until the third growing season, and even then only 53.0% of 32 study ponds surveyed contained young largemouth bass. Relative abundance of young-of-the-year largemouth bass was highly variable ranging from 0.0 - 71.0 largemouth bass/seine haul. Angler harvest of largemouth bass from 12 South Dakota stock-ponds indicated greatest catch per effort values (2.8 fish/hr) in largemouth bass only ponds, while largemouth bass-bluegill ponds produced the most poundage of largemouth bass (1.1 kg/hr).

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Largemouth Bass -- Growth
Largemouth bass -- Reproduction
Fish ponds -- South Dakota


Includes bibliographical references (pages 45-49)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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