Date of Award:

1971

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Natural Resources

Department name when degree awarded

Wildlife Resources

Advisor/Chair:

Robert H. Kramer

Abstract

Spawning time and habitat of largemouth bass, survival of embryos, and growth and food habits of fingerlings were studied in 1968 and 1969 at Wahweap Bay, Lake Powell. Spawning began in mid- to late-April, when mean daily water temperature at nesting depths was 14.4-15.0 Centigrade (58-59 Fahreheit), and continued until mid-June. Most spawning took place on the northeast shore of the bay. Sandstone rubble was the most commonly used bottom type for nesting, either at the base of ledges or around large sandstone boulders. Mean nest depth increased from 1.63 meter to 4.54 meters (5.36 feet to 14.90 feet) in 1968 and from 1.51 meter to 2.93 meters (4.96 feet to 9.60 feet) in 1969, because bass sought the protection of ledges and boulders covered by continually rising water. Nearly all embryos required 4 days to hatch, and survival to hatching was 80.4 percent and 92.2 percent for 1968 and 1969, respectively. Growth of fingerlings was similar in both years and most rapid prior to August 1 in both years. Fingerlings from the 1969 year-class were longer than those from the 1968 year-class before August 21. Total length of bass on August 21 was 68.0 millimeters in both years but 86.5 millimeters and 80.2 millimeters on October 1 in 1968 and 1969, respectively. Growth may have been influenced by total temperature experience during the early part of the growing season but not during the latter part. Fingerlings ate mostly crustaceans, insects, and fish. Size of organisms eaten increased with increase in fingerling length, and fingerling bass fed selectively on larger Crustacea. Numbers of nests located and numbers of young-of-the-year taken in beach-seine catches indicated that the 1968 year-class was stronger than 1969. Estimated numbers of bass per 92.9 meters2 (1,000 feet2 ) seined varied from 0.82 to 3.39 in 1968 and from 0.23 to 2.65 in 1969. An index to year-class strength may be obtained from seine catches at any time of the summer after brood dispersal, but indices obtained in this study must be validated by determing the contribution of each year-class to the creel.

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