LDWF stocked 126 pre-spawn pure Florida Largemouth Bass from its Booker Fowler Fish Hatchery into the Spring Bayou complex on February 7, 2024. These adult bass are three years old and carry ‘big bass’ Florida Largemouth Bass genes. The majority of these fish were 14-16 inches in length, included both males and females, and weighed 1.5- 2.5 pounds.

Native Louisiana, “Northern” Largemouth Bass do not tend to grow as large as Florida Largemouth Bass, but they are believed to be more aggressive and more eager to strike lures. Florida Largemouth Bass can grow to trophy size but can be more difficult to catch. These two species hybridize, offering anglers the best characteristics of both species. 

“These newly stocked bass will begin spawning in the coming weeks as temperatures warm and will continue to spawn each spring as long as they live, increasing the proportion of Florida Largemouth Bass genes in the waterbody for years to come,” Biologist Manager Brad Launey commented.

The extreme drought conditions in 2023 created an unplanned, natural drawdown of the Spring Bayou complex. While temporarily inconvenient and unsightly to people using and enjoying the waterbody, drawdowns are the best tool fisheries managers have to combat the effects of natural waterbody aging.  These low water events ultimately benefit fisheries by allowing accumulated organic matter occurring on the bottom to decay and compact as it dries. This releases nutrients back into the water column and makes them available to the aquatic food chain. It also improves and increases available spawning habitat. 

Inland Fisheries Biologist Director Kristi Butler explained, “If normal weather patterns prevail over the next few years and water levels stabilize, anglers should see a boost in sportfish populations as a result of the improved conditions directly related to the recent fish stocking efforts, as well as the planned drawdown in 2022 and the drought-induced drawdown of 2023.” 

For additional information regarding stocking efforts in Spring Bayou, contact Brad Launey, LDWF District 6 Biologist Manager, at blauney@wlf.la.gov or 337-735-8712.