Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 1686
Title: Smallmouth bass in the Pacific Northwest: a threat to native species; a benefit for anglers
Author: Michael P. Carey, Beth L. Sanderson, Thomas A. Friesen, K. Barnas, Julian D. Olden
Publication Year: 2011
Journal: Reviews in Fisheries Science
Volume: 19
Issue: 3
Pages: 305-315
Keywords: Smallmouth bass, predation, sportfish, invasive species, endangered and threatened salmonids,Smallmouth bass

As a popular sportfish, smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) generates considerable angling opportunities with benefits to local economies even outside of their native range. Smallmouth bass was first introduced to the Pacific Northwest region of North America as a sportfish over 80 years ago, and this species is now widely distributed. More recently, smallmouth bass have become a large component of the fish community in many streams, rivers, and lakes. Smallmouth bass thrive in the Pacific Northwest largely due to the habitat created by human modifications of the landscape. While a desired sportfish, smallmouth bass may also negatively affect native fishes. Of greatest concern is predation on threatened and endangered Pacific salmon; however, the current level of knowledge is inadequate to make informed management decisions for smallmouth bass. Management options for smallmouth bass are complicated further because fisheries agencies are simultaneously charged with enhancing fishing opportunities and controlling predators of threatened and endangered salmon. To advance conservation science, there is a need to determine the utility of different management approaches, and testing options in key areas of overlap between smallmouth bass and salmon is suggested.


We examine the conflict between smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu)   the “popular sportfish” versus bass the “predator on threatened and endangered Pacific salmon (Onchorhynchus spp.)” in the Pacific Northwest (PNW).    We summarize the history of smallmouth bass in the PNW, detail the popularity of the recreational fishery, and review research on their predatory impact in lentic and lotic systems.  We lack basic information on system-wide abundances and ecology of smallmouth bass to make informed management decisions for the recreational fishery and to determine the best strategies for preventing, controlling, or eradicating smallmouth bass impacts on salmon.  Despite their non-native status, state fisheries agencies are dually tasked with managing smallmouth bass , a popular recreational game fish and key contributor to local economies, while protecting and promoting the recovery of threatened and endangered Pacific Salmon.   This dichotomy strains discussion about if and how smallmouth might be managed to minimize risks to fishes.

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Notes: 10.1080/10641262.2011.598584
Theme: Recovery, Rebuilding and Sustainability of Marine and Anadromous Species
Foci: Describe the relationship among human activities and species stock status, recovery, rebuilding and sustainability.