Alabama’s Lake Jordan Stocked with Quarter Million Florida Bass

In May 2015, the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) stocked Lake Jordan with more than 227,000 Florida largemouth bass fingerlings. This is the first of three scheduled stockings that will take place mid-May to mid-June each year through 2017. 

The fingerlings were raised at  the Marion and Eastaboga state fish hatcheries and were stocked into the 700-acre Lake Bouldin embayment of Lake Jordan, known locally as New Lake.

According to Damon Abernethy, WFF Fisheries Development Coordinator, New Lake will be stocked with close to 1 million Florida largemouth fingerlings by the end of June 2017. The May 2015 stocking nearly tripled the number of Florida bass stocked in the lake since the inception of Alabama’s Florida bass program in the 1970s. “The targeted stocking density for the New Lake embayment of Lake Jordan is 350 fingerlings per acre annually from 2015 through 2017,” Abernethy said. “This will result in approximately 750,000 pure Florida bass fingerlings being stocked.”

Florida bass stocking in Lake Jordan.

Florida bass stocking in Lake Jordan.

Alabama’s Florida bass program has evolved dramatically since its beginning. Between 1980 and 1994, nine separate Florida bass stockings have occurred in Lake Jordan. Earlier in the program the fish were stocked throughout the lake at a rate of one to four fish per acre. Historically, stockings in reservoirs and Alabama’s state public fishing lakes indicate that higher stocking densities (at least 100 fingerlings per acre) are necessary to introduce genetic traits into a fish population.

However, high stocking densities have not always guaranteed success.  “Lake Jordan has been stocked with Florida bass before, but the desirable traits did not persist in the population,” said Nick Nichols, WFF Fisheries Section Chief. “Habitat, timing, fertility, competition, and poor isolation are all factors that may influence the success of a high-density fish stocking.”

The New Lake section of Lake Jordan was selected for the high-density stocking of Florida largemouth bass primarily due to its isolation from the rest of the reservoir. Abernethy said the WFF Fisheries Section looks for areas with good largemouth bass habitat that are relatively isolated when choosing stocking locations for genetic enhancement efforts. “Lake Jordan has two areas that meet these requirements,” he said. “They are the Bouldin Dam embayment (New Lake) and the Shoal Creek embayment (Blackwell’s Slough).

The man-made canal connecting New Lake to the rest of the reservoir has poor largemouth bass habitat, which we hope will act as a barrier to keep the introduced Florida bass confined to New Lake. There they will have a greater probability of outcompeting and ultimately interbreeding with the native Northern largemouth bass.”

Similar efforts on other lakes in the state have shown that if desirable genetic traits are successfully introduced into an isolated population of bass, fishing tournament activity will help to distribute the adults throughout the lake due to culling and post-tournament release.

The Florida largemouth bass fingerlings were transported to New Lake using boats equipped with fish hauling tanks with compressed oxygen. Each tank is capable of hauling 25,000-35,000 fingerlings to the stocking site.

To learn more about Alabama’s Florida bass program, visit

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit




Comments are closed.