lake had become overstocked with small bass that were depleting the forage base, thereby stunting the rate of growth for all bass, a condition known as stockpiling. As a result, TPWD changed the length limit for Ivie, which benefited the bass population, according to Farooqi: “The new regulation allows anglers to harvest up to two fish less than 18-inches. The idea was to increase growth rates of 14- to 18-inch fish by reducing stockpiling through increased harvest.” As further evidence to the success of the change in length limit, data from the Permian Basin Oilman’s Bass Invita- tional showed a declining average weight per fish through 2005, when the trend reversed the following year and continued to climb. “We hoped the increased size of bass being caught would lead to anglers catching more trophy bass,” Farooqi says.
Other lakes within the arid brush country of south Texas are always susceptible, and have likely benefited, from large swings in water levels during the past 10-15 years, as well as a good genetic base for the bass popula- tion. Choke Canyon, Falcon and Amistad are three examples of lakes now commonly producing double digit bass after ebb- ing in national attention during years of extremely low water. Satellite images of each reservoir during the past 10- 12 years show just how low the water levels had subsided before refilling to conservation pool.
Anglers visiting O.H. Ivie can rest assured the presence of 13 pound bass are still in the reservoir, as each of the bass entered into the TPWD ShareLunker program the past two seasons were re-introduced back into the lake. Under the program, the giant females are temporarily donated to the TPWD where they spawn. The angler is then given the option of releasing the fish back into the same reservoir, or permanently donating the fish to the TPWD program. Either way, the angler receives a fiberglass replica of the fish with exacting measurements. The ShareLunker season runs from October 1 through the following April 30.
JamesNiggemeyer.com - photo by Dan O’Sullivan