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Alabama Bass in Virginia lakes are threatening state’s bass population

Species has been found in Claytor Lake, could jeopardize Smith Mountain Lake

DGIF warns that Alabama Bass, an invasive species, poses a threat to other bass populations
DGIF warns that Alabama Bass, an invasive species, poses a threat to other bass populations (iNaturalistAngling for Black Bass Conservation Project)

ROANOKE, Va. – While for some, all bass are the same, that’s far from the truth when it comes to this invasive species being found in lakes across Virginia.

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) is warn Virginians about Alabama Bass, which have been seen at Claytor Lake, Philpott Lake, Martinsville Reservoir, and Lake Gaston.

The species, which is in appearance, is nearly identical to the Spotted Bass, threatens both Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass through competition and hybridization, according to DGIF.

Although Alabama Bass, which are native to Alabama and parts of Georgia, can grow somewhat larger than Spotted Bass, DGIF says they have a tendency to become stunted, ultimately creating a fishery dominated by small bass.

Here's a comparison between Alabama Bass, Spotted Bass and Largemouth Bass
Here's a comparison between Alabama Bass, Spotted Bass and Largemouth Bass (iNaturalist Angling for Black Bass Conservation Project)

DGIF believes that further spread of Alabama Bass may jeopardize bass fisheries in systems such as Smith Mountain Lake, Lake Anna, Lake Moomaw, South Holston Reservoir, the upper James River, and the Shenandoah River.

DGIF’s warnings are certainly not unfounded.

Existing Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass populations saw negative impacts after Alabama Bass entered the water in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, according to DGIF.

If you think you found an Alabama Bass, here’s what to do:

  1. Take a picture of the fish
  2. Clip off a thumbnail-sized portion of one of the pelvic fins and store the fin clip dry in an envelope. (The pelvic fins are located on the bottom of the fish, just under the head.)
  3. Contact DGIF at fisheries@dgif.virginia.gov or at 804 367-1293

Anyone with information about intentioal stockings of Alabama Bass should contact DGIF law enforcement at 800-237-5712 or WildCrime@dgif.virginia.gov.


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