Stocking program appears to be providing greater trophy bass potential at Smith Mountain Lake

Outdoors Bound

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — There’s good news about largemouth bass fishing at Smith Mountain Lake (SML). In an effort to enhance the trophy bass fishery there, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) has been planting F1 hybrid bass in the lake, as well as in other select Virginia impoundments, including Claytor Lake.

F1 bass are a cross between Florida-strain largemouth and Northern-strain largemouth bass. While commonly referred to as a hybrid, they are actually an intergrade because they are a cross between two subspecies instead of two different species. Whatever you want to call them, one thing is certain, Florida-strain bass are genetically predisposed to growing to gigantic sizes.

DWR biologists say they are seeing an improvement in the size of largemouth bass caught at SML and that there are more bass that weigh in excess of four pounds than there have been in years.

F1 Bass fingerlings

While the early results are good, state fisheries managers say it is still too early to say whether the F1 stocking program will continue in the long run.

Largemouth bass are already the most targeted fish at SML, accounting for millions of dollars spent in the local economy every year. A consistent trophy fishery would only expand that and draw more anglers to the region.

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