ATHENS, Texas — If growing and catching bigger largemouth bass in your private pond or lake are your goals, mark your calendar for March 28 and 29.

Texas AgriLife Extension, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, in cooperation with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Henderson County Wildlife Committee, will present a seminar at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens entitled “The Largemouth Bass: Better Fishing Through Private Water Management.”

“The program is designed primarily for landowners who manage their own impoundments for bass fishing,” said conference organizer Billy Higginbotham, Ph.D., of Texas A&M University. “Program topics will include basic pond management such as water quality, controlling exotic vegetation, bass diseases and parasites, fertilization, feeding and stocking strategies. There will also be sessions on cutting-edge bass management techniques. This program is a must for anyone wanting to raise and catch really big bass in their ponds.”

Presenters at the conference will include some of the best-known bass experts from the southern United States. Barry Smith of the American Sport Fish Hatchery in Alabama will report on his efforts to use selective breeding to grow bigger bass that are easier to catch. Bassmaster Elite angler Alton Jones will speak on how to catch bass. There will also be a session on how to age bass using otoliths, a necessary component of successful management of a fishery. Attendees will also get a close-up view of modern scientific bass management as practiced by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, including a behind-the-scenes tour of TFFC’s ShareLunker spawning and rearing facility.

Program Highlights

Friday, March 28

  • Welcome — Phil Durocher, Director, Inland Fisheries Division, TPWD
  • Pond Renovation — Jim Rogers, National Resources Conservation Service
  • Aging Largemouth Bass Using Otoliths
  • Measuring Ponds/Testing Water Quality
  • Electrofishing/Shoreline Seining Demonstration
  • Bass Spawning Facility Behind-the-Scenes Tour
  • Catfish Fry
  • Visit with Alton Jones

Saturday, March 29

  • Basic Pond Ecology — Michael Masser, Texas AgriLife Extension Service
  • Water Quality Management — Peter Woods, Texas AgriLife Extension Service
  • Pond Fertilization/Fish Feeding — Peter Woods, Texas AgriLife Extension Service
  • Fish Stocking Strategies — Malcolm Johnson, Johnson Lake Management
  • Do-it-Yourself Fish Population Assessment — Billy Higginbotham, Texas AgriLife Extension Service
  • Pond Management Mythbusting — Rich Noble, North Carolina State University
  • Enhancing/Establishing Aquatic Vegetation — Rick Ott, TPWD
  • Operation World Record — Allen Forshage, TPWD
  • Largemouth Bass DNA Research Update — Dijar Lutz-Carrillo, TPWD
  • Better Bass Fishing Through Genetics — Barry Smith, American Sport Fish Hatchery
  • Aquatic Weed Control — Michael Masser, Texas AgriLife Extension Service
  • Managing Problem Wildlife — Mike Bodenchuk, Wildlife Services
  • Largemouth Bass Diseases and Parasite, Michael Masser, Texas AgriLife Extension Service
  • “Ask the Experts” Panel