The Alabama bass has changed lake Norman, some would say for the better and others would argue the opposite. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has tracked the Alabama bass since their introduction in 2001. What their studies show is a decline in the number of largemouth bass and an exponential increase in Alabama bass.
This has led to the Alabama bass becoming the majority of the population by 2006 and they now outnumber the largemouth bass 10 to 1. It’s not all bad news, as the largemouth that remain actually have a higher individual length, on average 3 inches longer than before 2001.
NCWRC has decided to take a couple of steps to allow for the harvest of any Alabama bass regardless of size and there is no daily limit. In doing this, the hope is anglers will harvest the Alabama bass and make room within the fishery for future stocking programs for largemouth bass. The restocking program announced last fall is really an experiment with three lakes, Norman, Gaston and Jordan selected for various reasons to compare the effectiveness of stocking F1 largemouth bass. The hope is that over time, these F1 largemouth will have superior growth compared to the native largemouth and that they will replace Alabama bass as they are harvested, giving anglers a chance at more quality fish.
A non profit, NCF1Bass.org, has been established to help raise funds for these stocking efforts. Every dollar raised by NCF1 will be matched 3 to 1 by NCWRC and the resulting $4.00 buys 8 F1 fingerlings. That is an unbelievable amount of return for a donation.
Hearing this story, Kevin VanDam immediately wanted to support the fundraising efforts. At REDCREST on the stage before the anglers were interviewed on Saturday evening, VanDam, through the KVD Foundation, made a $5,000 donation to NCF1. Steven Bardin, Major League Fishing Fisheries Management Division biologist, Chuck Murray, President of NCF1Bass.org and Corey Oakley, Assistant Chief of Inland Fisheries of NCWRC were on stage with Kevin to receive the donation.
Immediately, NCWRC matched Kevin’s donation turning $5,000 into $20,000 and resulting in the purchase of 40,000 F1 fingerlings this year.
Kevin said about his donation, “I support any effort to grow bigger bass in the state of North Carolina and across the country. Sherry and I are excited to see our donation going straight to purchasing fish and North Carolina’s commitment to matching the funds”.
VanDam and his foundation have created similar opportunities in the past, providing seed money in Oklahoma at last year’s REDCREST for a pilot restocking program for Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees. KVD has been a leader in conservation throughout his career and will continue to be over the coming decade.