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Konawa Lake takes number one spot in spring surveys

You can head just about any direction in Oklahoma and find a good bass fishing lake. But before you head out on your next fishing trip, you may want to check out 2003 spring electrofishing data recently released by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. In reservoirs over 1,000 acres, Konawa Lake earned the top spot in number of bass surveyed per hour.

Covering 1,300 acres in Seminole County, Konawa produced 201 bass per hour of electrofishing during this year's surveys. That is up to par with its reputation as a first-rate bass lake.

"Konawa is traditionally one of best lakes in the state - year in, year out - in terms of number of bass. It's also one of the best in terms of big bass" said Kim Erickson, fisheries chief for the Department.

Coming in second was Grand Lake, which produced 168 bass per hour during this year's electrofishing bass surveys. Dripping Springs Lake, near Okmulgee, ranked third with 130 bass per hour. Ranking fourth was Hudson Lake (101 bass per hour), with Tenkiller Lake (77 bass per hour) rounding out the top five.

If you're interested in big bass, the survey is also a great place to determine which lake may hold the highest number of big bass. Biologists keep track of the number of bass over 14 inches recorded for each hour of electrofishing. Along with the top five lakes in overall bass numbers, Keystone and Bell Cow lakes in northeastern Oklahoma recorded high marks in the number of bass over 14 inches.

Data from the springtime bass survey is divided between that collected from lakes larger than 1,000 acres, and lakes smaller than 1,000 acres. The data is used to determine the health of individual bass fisheries and how bass populations change over time. Regional fisheries management personnel capture bass using electrofishing equipment, then they weigh and measure each fish before releasing them back into the water unharmed. The information helps biologists determine which lakes benefit from specialized management techniques such as length and slot limits.

The Department rates a lake as high quality when it produces more than 15 bass over 14 inches per hour of electrofishing. Quality lakes yield more than 10 bass over 14 inches per hour of electrofishing, and those which produce fewer than 10 per hour are considered below average.

In terms of total numbers of bass per hour, lakes that yield more than 60 bass of any size per hour are rated as “high quality.” Those producing 40 bass or more per hour are considered "quality" lakes, and less than 40 per hour are considered below average.

Variations in electrofishing catch rates can result from lake conditions at the time of sampling or from changes in reproduction, recruitment, growth and mortality caused by habitat alteration, environmental impacts, food fish production, disease or angling pressure. All fish collected by biologists through electrofishing are weighed, measured and released unharmed. Not all lakes are surveyed each year.