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Sandusky Bay Smallmouth Tournament Dispersal
Smallmouth Bass dispersal from a tournament release site in western Lake Erie
September 2018 - December 2021
Initially, this project evaluated Smallmouth Bass dispersal from a tournament release site in Sandusky Bay; 23 fish were tagged and released in Sept 2018. All fish dispersed from the immediate vicinity of the release site, taking 2 weeks (average) to disperse. However, only 58% of fish returned to the main lake after 2 months, indicating tournament displacement may partially function as harvest in large lake systems. In the subsequent two years, eight fish were tracked making long-distance movements (i.e., > 30 km) in the Western and Central Basins of Lake Erie, some crossing management boundaries into Ontario and Michigan waters. These fish moved an average distance of 109.9 ± 26.6 km per year. This movement scope is not well appreciated for centrarchids in large lake systems, indicating Smallmouth Bass spatial ecology remains understudied in those systems.