A Re-evaluation of U.S. State Fish-Stocking Recommendations for Small, Private, Warmwater Impoundments

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Biological Sciences


Stocking fish into small impoundments for recreational angling has been practiced over the last half-century. As a result, many state agencies have developed recommendations for stocking fish into small impoundments that are often based on early regional research. We obtained current state fish-stocking recommendations, compared them to a 1980 summary, and reviewed literature since 1980 to determine if states were incorporating recent research into their current recommendations. Most states expanded their recommendations from the bass-bluegill strategy to include other species. Such changes are probably related to research that suggested quality fisheries for most desired species can exist, but depends on managing specifically for that fishery. The little research on bass-bluegill stockings suggests that states are content with historical stocking strategies, and employ an adaptive management approach to ponds that reach an undesirable state. Research has shown that anglers can have substantial impacts on both prey and predator populations, which suggests that anglers can be used in an adaptive management framework. However, such a framework developed specifically for small impoundments does not exist. Identifying current research needs for small impoundment management is important because many states still allocate resources to small waterbodies that can provide anglers with quality fishing opportunities.



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