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Survey shows healthy sportfish populations


photo of fish

Fort Loudoun Reservoir yielded 1,808 black bass in this year’s spring sportfish survey, including this 6.4-pound largemouth which a volunteer is preparing to release.

TVA biologists sum up the results of the 2008 spring sportfish survey in one word: excellent.

Catch rates improved from the 2007 survey on 16 of the 21 reservoirs sampled—with nine reservoirs recording their highest catch rates to date. Fish health and condition also were found to be better than average. (Use the link below to see reservoirs surveyed.)

The overall catch rate for the 2008 survey was 65 fish per hour—up from the 2007 survey rate of 51 fish per hour. The highest catch rate—more than 100 fish per hour—was observed on Fort Loudoun Reservoir, followed by Wheeler with a catch rate of 82 fish per hour.

TVA conducts the survey every spring to help determine the number, age, and general health of black bass and crappie populations in TVA-managed reservoirs. Results are used by state agencies to protect and improve sport fisheries.

Crews conduct twelve 30-minute electro-fishing runs at sampling locations representing a variety of habitat types. An electric current is used to temporarily stun the fish so that they float to the surface. The fish are released unharmed after they are weighed and measured.

More than 160 anglers and observers participated in this year’s survey.

TVA fisheries biologist Donny Lowery is pleased with the 2008 survey results. “Black bass and crappie populations appear to be thriving despite the extended drought, and there is no indication of any negative impacts related to the changes in TVA’s reservoir operating policy implemented in 2004.”

The chart below shows the top-producing reservoir for each of the species collected.

Top-producing reservoirs for different species
2008 Spring Sportfish Survey



Numbers of
fish collected

Largemouth bass



Smallmouth bass

Fort Loudoun


Spotted bass



White crappie



Black crappie




Read more about the 2008 sportfish survey and view results for individual reservoirs.


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