Sight Fishing on Lake Fork


Daniel Bradley with a giant bass caught while
sight fishing with Guide Richie White


     The laws and stocking practices in effect on Lake Fork make sight fishing there especially profitable. On Lake Fork, there is a slot that protects the spawning bass. Anglers are not allowed to keep any fish between 16 and 24 inches in length. Since the

protected bass are usually the most abundant, there are great numbers of bass at the spawning age. Additionally, for the last 13 years, the TPWD has stocked an average of around 600,000 pure Florida bass fingerlings per year. Even if the bass never reproduced, there would still be a lot of the transplanted fingerlings that live to adulthood. It could quite possibly be better if they did not reproduce because when they do, they can mate with native bass and create a hybrid that does not get as big as the stocked Florida strain. See www.bassfishing.org for Lake Fork stocking information.
     On lakes where there is a minimum length limit, fishing for spawning bass could harm the fishery. For instance, on many lakes in Texas, you are allowed to keep 5 fish over 14 inches. If you have a big tournament on those lakes during the spawn, many of those fish will be taken off the nests. It is unlikely that those fish will even make it back to the nests, much less before the predators ate the eggs. So, for the future fishery on those lakes, it is important not to keep those fish.

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