Bass fishing is an important recreational activity in Alabama reservoirs and a variety of factors (e.g. management activities, weather conditions, etc.) can influence angler success. Therefore, it is important to determine locations that allow anglers to make a decision regarding likelihood of success (i.e. catching fish) or the potential to catch larger fish (trophy fishing). Data collected from bass tournaments held on Alabama reservoirs via the Bass Anglers Information Team (BAIT) program were collected and analyzed for early season (April) catch rates for three reservoirs (Lake Guntersville, Lake Eufaula, and Weiss Lake). A significant difference was found between catch rates (using catch per unit effort, CPUE) and average bass size. Weiss Lake had a higher average CPUE and smaller average fish size and Lake Guntersville had higher average fish size but the lowest catch rate. Additionally, a positive correlation was found between CPUE and the number of days with minimum temperature at or below freezing. These results indicate that managers and tournament hosts should consider the severity of the previous winter and fishery when planning early season tournaments or angling activities.
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Vol. 88 • No. 2