Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
Sport Fish Age and Growth
Smallmouth Bass Age and Growth
Spotted Bass Age and Growth
Largemouth Bass Age and Growth
Rock Bass "Redeye" Age and Growth
In order to address management questions pertaining to the age and growth characteristics of stream dwelling smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu), spotted bass (M. punctulatus), largemouth bass (M. salmoides), and rock bass (Ambloplites rupestris) populations, collection of otolith samples was initiated in 1995 by each regional TWRA stream survey unit. These efforts represent the first intensive efforts by TWRA to collect this type of data. The focus of the surveys have been primarily on smallmouth bass and rock bass as these two species are the "staple" sport species found in the major river systems of east Tennesee.
Ototliths have been extracted from these species in nine of the major riverine fisheries (Clinch River, Powell River, North Fork Holston River, Nolichucky River, Pigeon River, French Broad River, Holston River, South Fork Holston River, Little Pigeon River) and smaller freestone streams within the region. To date over 3,000 smallmouth bass, spotted bass, largemouth bass, and rock bass have been aged from east Tennessee rivers and streams. Overall, growth of all black bass species and rock bass has been fairly consistent among the rivers and streams within the region. Additionally, the mean length at age values generated from fish in east Tennessee compare quite well with other populations across the state. This indicates black bass and rock bass across the state exhibit similar growth characteristics. The figures below depict mean lengths at age for black bass and rock bass in nine major river systems of east Tennessee and overall statewide mean length at age for all populations sampled within the state.