Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Lake Mattamuskeet Fish Habitat

A wide range of habitat enhancement, fisheries research, and other projects on Lake Mattamuskeet could improve fishing on the lake for largemouth bass and other species.

A multi-year habitat enhancement project on Lake Mattamuskeet is set to begin in 2016. Partners in the project include the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and UNC-Chapel Hill researchers.

The research project will focus on maintaining submerged aquatic vegetation in the east basin of the lake and examining the potential to increase coverage of aquatic vegetation in the west basin.

Previously, the N.C Wildlife Commission conducted annual electrofishing and trap netting surveys in the main lake and surrounding canals to describe abundance, size, condition, and growth of largemouth bass, black crappie, and other sportfish.

A tagging program evaluated adult largemouth bass movement within and between lake and canal habitats.

Lake Mattamuskeet was stocked with 45,000 largemouth bass fingerlings in 2014 and 70,000 in 2015 as part of a multi-year largemouth bass enhancement study.

Numerous angler surveys found that blue crab, channel catfish, black crappie, white perch, and largemouth bass were the top five species targeted.

Fisheries management plans for 2016 include an additional stocking of 50,000 largemouth bass fingerlings as well as the implementation of a largemouth bass movement project to track the movements of individual adult fish as they move in and out the canals.

Located within Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge, Lake Mattamuskeet is North Carolina’s largest natural lake (40,100 acres). Lake Mattamuskeet fish include both freshwater and estuarine species because of the drainage canals that connect the lake to Pamlico Sound.

source: North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission