Effects of hurricane-induced hydrilla reduction on the largemouth bass fishery at two central Florida lakes
Kevin G. Johnson, Jason R. Dotson, William F. Pouder, Nicholas A. Trippel & Robert L. Eisenhauer
...even if those weeds are generally considered to be invasive. That seems to be the conclusion drawn from a recent Florida study. Two lakes, Lakes Weohyakapka and St. Johns Water Management Area, experienced severe impacts from multiple hurricanes in August and September 2004, resulting in the loss of all submersed aquatic vegetation, primarily hydrilla. Looking at data from prehurricane periods (1999–2004) compared to posthurricane (2005–2009) showed a significant difference in number of juvenile (age-1) largemouth bass before the hurricanes, suggesting there was a decline in the numbers of small bass added to the population which coincided with the absence of hydrilla. Additional findings showed declines in the number of anglers targeting bass, their fishing related expenditures, as well as the catches of trophy-sized fish. Along these lines, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recently adopted a new agency position on hydrilla management, recognizing that hydrilla at a low to moderate coverage can be beneficial to fish and wildlife.