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Additional Contacts: Dr. Billy Higginbotham, (903) 834-6191 or b-higginbotham@tamu.edu; or Dr. Michael Masser, ( 979) 845-7370 or m-masser@tamu.edu

TPWD Website: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us

TPWD News Release — Feb. 24, 2012

Trophy Bass Management Symposium March 24 at Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center

ATHENS – Private bass pond managers will get a behind-the scenes look at how Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) inland fisheries biologists monitor fish populations and care for trophy bass at a statewide symposium set for March 23—24, 2012, at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) in Athens.

“There are more than a million private impoundments in the state, many of which could be used for increased recreation through bass fishing with better management,” said Dr. Billy Higginbotham, Texas AgriLife Extension wildlife and fisheries specialist. “As many landowners have learned, you just don’t stock a pond or lake with largemouth bass and automatically get trophy-size fish.”

Growing big fish takes top management, which can be learned at “Bass Tech: The Technology to Manage for Success.” Participants may register online at http://agriliferegister.tamu.edu (enter the keyword “bass”) or by calling (979) 845-2604. There is a fee for attendance.

In addition to session presentations, attendees will be able to observe a TPWD fisheries management crew electrofish on Lake Athens and demonstrate how to obtain and record data necessary for managing a bass population.

Also included will be a behind-the-scenes tour of the Toyota ShareLunker holding facility at TFFC. The “Lunker Bunker” is where bass weighing 13 pounds or more are cared for and spawned as part of a selective breeding program. This tour will take place from 3—5 p.m. March 23.

Session presentations March 24 will include Basic Pond Ecology, Water Quality, Pond Fertilization, Do-It-Yourself Fish Population Assessment and Corrective Stockings, Better Bass Fishing Through Genetics, Trophy Bass Management, Identifying and Controlling Nuisance Wildlife, Aquatic Weed Identification and Control, and Aging Largemouth Bass Using Otoliths.

Instructors include wildlife and fisheries experts with AgriLife Extension, TPWD and American Sport Fish Hatchery, a southeastern U.S. stocking and pond maintenance service.

A similar symposium was held in 2008. “The main difference this year is that we’ve trimmed some topics based on participant evaluations,” Higginbotham said. “The one-day program means participants won’t have to go to the expense and trouble of spending the night if they don’t want to.”

Registration will be from 7-8 a.m. on March 24. The symposium will conclude at 5 p.m. A catered lunch and break refreshments are included in the registration fee.

In addition, each registrant will receive a CD of the proceedings, speaker notes and a copy of Higginbotham’s “Wildlife and Fish Management Calendar.”

Texas Department of Agriculture private pesticide applicator license holders can earn one continuing education unit in integrated pest management.
TFFC is four miles east of Athens and 75 miles southeast of Dallas. More information on the center can be found at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/visitorcenters/tffc/.

For more information on the symposium, or to register by regular mail and check, contact Higginbotham at (903) 834-6191 or b-higginbotham@tamu.edu or Dr. Michael Masser, AgriLife Extension fisheries specialist, at ( 979) 845-7370 or m-masser@tamu.edu.

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