Christopher Smith

Protect Ozark Smallmouth Bass

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It seems that there is more and more concern over smallmouth bass populations around the United States and more calls to protect them. Some Ozark rivers are being threatened by fishing as well as increased number of spotted bass that are competing with smallmouth bass.

The Ozarks (also referred to as Ozarks Mountain Country, the Ozark Mountains, and the Ozark Plateau) are a physiographic and geologic highland region of the central United States. It covers much of the southern half of Missouri and an extensive portion of northwestern and north central Arkansas. The region also extends westward into northeastern Oklahoma and extreme southeastern Kansas. Source

Protect Ozark Smallmouth Bass

In this recent article, Larry Dablemont calls on anglers to protect Ozark smallmouth bass.

We release all smallmouth, and in this day and time, with all the pressure on our rivers, I urge all fishermen to do the same. There has never been, in all the years I have fished, fewer smallmouth bass in our Ozark streams.

We need a law requiring that all smallmouth be released, and we should urge fishermen to recognize and keep spotted bass, also known as Kentucky bass. Those fish, as best I can tell, are not native to most of the Ozark rivers, and they compete with smallmouth in several ways; for food, spawning habitat, etc. They cross with smallmouth bass and create a hybridized version which weakens the genetics of true smallmouth. Source

The best bet when smallmouth fishing is to catch and release. In order to protect Ozark smallmouth bass as well as populations everywhere, catch and release should be the norm.

This video will put you in a whole new frame of mind but be careful because you’ll want to get out to enjoy the beauty of the Ozarks (with a few smallies mixed in!)

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