Discussion Topic: Is It Okay To Catch Spawning Bass?

It is according to the latest University of Florida study, whose author says that states currently closed to bass fishing during the spawn may want to give their bass anglers more time on the water.

From the University of Florida News:
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[Spawning bass] are easy to catch, but it's commonly believed that spawning-season fishing reduces bass populations. [University of Florida fisheries professor Mike] Allen's latest study suggests that notion is rarely true….

"We found that in most cases, spawning area closures won't improve bass populations, for a couple of reasons," he said. "One is, there's a lot of catch and release nowadays. The other is, if you lose some nests, the ones that are left have higher survival rates…."_

_The study used mathematical models to predict changes in two types of bass populations. One was typical of southern states, with fast growth rates, early maturation and high natural mortality. The other had the opposite qualities, typical of northern states….

The results showed that prohibiting bass fishing during spawning season would only boost populations in waters where very high percentages of spawning bass are caught. "Those conditions are pretty rare," Allen said.

To test his findings in the field, Allen is collaborating with researchers from the Illinois Natural History Survey. They'll catch nesting bass in two Florida lakes and four Canadian lakes to see if it influences the number of young that reach adulthood.
 If there is no decrease, some officials might want to reconsider their policies, Allen said._