TVA Sport Fish Survey Forecasts Guntersville Bass Tournament Success
July 30, 2010
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Recent bass tournament results at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Guntersville Reservoir are reaffirming what TVA sport fish surveys had already shown -- the north Alabama reservoir now harbors one of its healthiest bass populations ever.
“Guntersville recorded its highest catch rate to date in sport fish surveys this spring,” TVA fisheries biologist John Justice said. “The results were a predictor for the recent Forrest L. Wood bass tournament, where anglers enjoyed catches of above average weight in higher than normal numbers.”
The tournament organization, commonly known as the FLW, is named after the founder of the Arkansas-based Ranger Boats company. FLW hosted competitions in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina and Tennessee in 2010.
The winner of the FLW tournament at Guntersville June 23-26 pulled in a four-day catch of 20 bass weighing nearly 96 pounds, the most of any FLW tournament this year. The second highest tournament total this year was about 70 pounds from Table Rock Lake in Branson, Mo.
Guntersville ranks at or near the top in numbers of quality bass (more than 4 pounds) and overall numbers of fish in TVA sport fish surveys conducted across the region. This year, TVA biologists counted 1,663 black bass in 18 hours in the spring survey at Guntersville. The total number of fish and collection rate of more than 92 per hour are the highest recorded at Guntersville since the surveys began in 1995.
“At most tournaments on other TVA reservoirs, an average of 10-12 pounds total catch per day will get you in the top 50,” Justice said.
“At Guntersville, it took nearly 18 pounds to place.”
Justice said bass generally tolerate and recover from low flow or drought years better than other species, and their numbers have risen steadily since the drought in 2007. Also, population fluctuations are cyclical, and Guntersville is likely approaching a peak.
Guntersville Reservoir continues to support a healthy fishery. Factors such as dissolved oxygen, available habitat and water quality are among the many components that impact fish populations. TVA monitors these criteria and conducts annual surveys to chart fish abundance, distribution, age, relative weight and general health.
Survey results are used by state and federal agencies to help protect fish species, improve sport fishing and provide data for management decisions.
TVA coordinated the Guntersville sport fish survey with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, whose independent survey of Guntersville Reservoir also matched TVA’s results.
TVA sport fish surveys collect data on game fish species such as black bass, sauger, walleye and crappie. This year’s surveys were conducted March through May at sites on nine TVA reservoirs.
The fish are collected using boat-mounted, electro-fishing equipment. The units briefly and harmlessly stun the fish and bring them to the surface where they are examined and evaluated by TVA biologists. Once weighed, measured and counted, the fish are released. For more information on TVA sport fish surveys, go to: http://www.tva.com/river/fishsurvey.htm.
The Tennessee Valley Authority, a corporation owned by the U.S. government, provides electricity for utility and business customers in most of Tennessee and parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia – an area of 80,000 square miles with a population of 9 million. TVA operates 29 hydroelectric dams, 11 coal-fired power plants, three nuclear plants and 11 natural gas-fired power facilities and supplies up to 33,700 megawatts of electricity, delivered over 16,000 miles of high-voltage power lines. TVA also provides flood control, navigation, land management and recreation for the Tennessee River system and works with local utilities and state and local governments to promote economic development across the region. TVA, which makes no profits and receives no taxpayer money, is funded by sales of electricity to its customers. Electricity prices in TVA’s service territory are below the national average.
Mike Bradley, Knoxville, (865) 632-8860
Media Relations, Knoxville (865) 632-6000