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March 1, 2013

Youth Anglers Help Build Largemouth Habitat

by Martha
DNR Tidal Bass Program biologists Branson Williams (L) and Tim Groves (R) showing the Largemouth Bass Sanctuary structures.

DNR Tidal Bass Program biologists Branson Williams (L) and Tim Groves with the new sanctuary structures.

Nine young anglers from the Maryland Bass Nation helped the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) build 12 temporary spawning habitat structures for largemouth bass. DNR will put the heavy-duty, corrugate plastic structures in two Potomac River sanctuaries in March.

“One sanctuary had too much grass and another too little. When the aquatic vegetation is very thick, it inhibits the navigation options for adult bass. Too little grass means easy access for the predators that eat the young bass,” said Dr. Joe Love, DNR Tidal Bass Program manager. “By diversifying bass habitat with artificial structures, we can provide the fish more places to retreat to, spawn and hide.”

DNR Fisheries biologists will place the structures in Concord Cove in Chicamuxen Creek and Gumtree Cove in the Nanjemoy River.

During the largemouth bass spawning period, March 1 through June 15, these coves are off-limits to boating and fishing. These activities can cause adult fish to abandon their nests, leaving their offspring unprotected and vulnerable to predators.

DNR will survey the effectiveness of the temporary habitat structures for the next three years. If they prove to be successful, DNR will expand the use of the structures to other similar tidal coves.

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