Smallmouth woes range from contaminants to more stress at spawning sites

Release Date:

Bay Journal — by Ad Crable — January 29, 2020

"Smallmouth bass, a leaping delight for anglers, continue to be hounded by mysterious disappearances, low survival rates, gaudy open sores and flood-challenged spawning seasons in the Chesapeake Bay region.

At a recent summit, fisheries biologists, anglers and fishing guides from Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania came together to assess the health of smallmouths and offer theories on the elusive search for causes.

Specifically, reports were presented on the upper Potomac River in Maryland, South Fork of the Shenandoah River in Virginia, South Branch of the Potomac River in West Virginia and lower Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania.

Smallmouths, along with their cousin, largemouth bass, are the most popular game fish in North America, even more so than trout and striped bass.

Though more studies are needed, summit participants generally agreed that suppressed immune systems are harming smallmouth bass in a variety of ways. Contaminants from two main sources are compromising their ability to fend off disease: pharmaceuticals running through sewage plants as well as chemicals from pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers running off the land. . ."

Read the full article at the Bay Journal


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