May 20th, 2022 - Smallmouth Bass Anatomy
Smallmouth bass are a member of the sunfish family. The original Canadian distribution of smallmouth bass was restricted to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River system, but their population began to expand in the mid-1800’s through stocking practices. Smallmouth bass were transplanted into the New England states in the late 1800’s and spread into New Brunswick from Maine around 1869, in the St. Croix River watershed. By 1884, in response to public demand, smallmouth bass stocking increased as a cost-effective method for providing food and for drawing tourists.
According to a DFO Risk Assessment for the potential impact of smallmouth bass introductions on Atlantic salmon, there are few studies on the suitability of habitat in rivers to support smallmouth bass, and there are few studies on direct interactions between smallmouth bass and Atlantic salmon to inform the assessment of ecological impacts. Over this upcoming field season, HRAA staff will be tagging and recapturing smallmouth bass to determine population abundance and distribution and comparing this data with our historical salmonid abundance and distribution data. Do the smallmouth bass in the Hammond River system travel freely between lakes and river? Do they overwinter in the river? Where is their upper limit for spawning and habitat in the river? How do their behaviors overlap with salmonids? Increasing our knowledge on ALL fish species is key to further understanding our watershed!