TVA conducts its annual spring sportfish survey to help determine the number, age, and general health of black bass and crappie populations in TVA reservoirs. The results of the survey are used by state agencies to protect and improve sport fisheries.
The 2011 spring sportfish survey was conducted on 12 Tennessee River reservoirs from March
through May. The survey included twelve 30-minute electrofishing runs covering the various habitat types present. An electric current was used to temporarily stun the fish so that they floated to the surface, where they were collected by TVA crews. The fish were then weighed, measured, and released.
This approach to determining fish abundance is used by state game and fish agencies and academia. In addition to accommodating state databases, the surveying method aligns with TVA Land and Shoreline Management objectives, since the sample sites are selected using the shoreline habitat characteristics employed by the Land and Shoreline Management group.
The survey predominantly targets three species of black bass — Largemouth, Smallmouth, and Spotted bass — and Black and White crappie.
Summary of 2011 results
12 reservoirs were sampled in 2011: 8 Main-stem Tennessee River reservoirs and 4 Tributary reservoirs.
A total of 9,272 black bass and 1,383 crappie were collected.
An overall catch rate of 57.2 fish per hour was achieved.
Numbers of black bass collected 3 pounds (890), 4 pounds (300), 5 pounds and over (105).
Chickamauga reservoir recorded the highest numbers of fish in the 3, 4, and 5 pound or larger range. (3 pounds 150 fish – 4 pounds 54 fish -5 pounds and over 23).
Pickwick reservoir recorded its highest number of smallmouth bass to date (221).
Pickwick reservoir recorded the highest percentage of harvestable largemouth bass to date at 80%.
Wheeler reservoir had its highest number of 3 and 4 pound bass since the survey initiated (3pounds 109 fish – 4 pounds 38 fish).
The highest catch rates were observed on Nickajack reservoir (75.2 fish per hour) and Wilson reservoir (72.6 fish per hour).
Nickajack reservoir recorded its highest catch rate (75.2 fish per hour) to date.
The largest fish in the 2011 survey was an 8.9 pound largemouth bass from Chickamauga reservoir (Harrison Bay area).
The average weight of all black bass collected 10 inches and longer was 1.8 pounds.
Nickajack reservoir had the highest average weight (2.3 pounds) ever recorded, system wide, for all black bass over 10 inches.
Parksville reservoir continues to produce significant numbers of spotted bass. Accordingly, largemouth bass comprised only 8.8% of the 2011 sample exhibiting a decreasing trend in the largemouth bass population.
2011 was a high-flow spring with several fronts and storms encountered while collecting samples. 144 anglers and observers participated in the 2011 survey. Kentucky Reservoir was not sampled this year due to flood events. <b>Top reservoirs in each category (numbers of fish)</b>
Pickwick reservoir had the most smallmouth bass (221).
Parksville reservoir had the most spotted bass (238).
Chickamauga reservoir had the most largemouth bass (1,040).
Chickamauga had the most crappie (440).
Fort Loudoun had the most white crappie (150).
Chickamauga reservoir had the most black crappie (429).
Chickamauga reservoir had the most fish sampled (1,480).
Tables for individual lakes: http://www.tva.com/environment/water/catchtables.htm