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Smallmouth and Zebras
#523344 07/07/20 12:30 PM
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The Exploding Smallmouth fishery's across the United States are almost exclusively in lakes with zebra mussels. Has anyone ever thought that maybe the zebra mussels are doing more then just filtering the water?
I know in Lake Oneida zebra mussels have been found in the stomachs of smallmouth bass, perhaps they are providing a food source for juvenile smallmouth? Perhaps all those mussels provide better habitat for the smallmouth fry to escape predation, I think it's something more than simply clearing the water.

Re: Smallmouth and Zebras
Spicelanebass #523356 07/08/20 12:12 AM
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We find Zebra mussels in nearly every species we do stomach analysis on. CC, Carp, even WAE.
Anything is possible but water clarity also allows more predation on younger SMB. It makes all sight feeders more effective at "seeing" their prey, but also works in the opposite direction as well.
Diving ducks utilize Zebras as well but the reproductive rate is uncontrollable.


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Re: Smallmouth and Zebras
Spicelanebass #523358 07/08/20 12:29 AM
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Milder winters probably play a role, too. Most climate warming happens in wintertime.


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Re: Smallmouth and Zebras
Spicelanebass #523374 07/08/20 08:03 AM
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Apparently crawfish love zebra mussels so there could be an indirect relationship there as well, something is happening besides clearer water.

Re: Smallmouth and Zebras
Spicelanebass #523375 07/08/20 08:17 AM
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Isn't it Arizona where the RES grow to 4 lbs because of the Zebra Mussels?


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Re: Smallmouth and Zebras
TGW1 #523380 07/08/20 08:44 AM
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Quagga muscles in Lake Havasu

https://www.bassmaster.com/blogs/2015-elite-series-lake-havasu-live-blog/lake-havasus-world-record-redear-monster#:~:text=The%20world%20record%20redear%20sunfish,a%20girth%20of%2019.5%20inches.

Re: Smallmouth and Zebras
Spicelanebass #523382 07/08/20 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Spicelanebass
The Exploding Smallmouth fishery's across the United States are almost exclusively in lakes with zebra mussels. Has anyone ever thought that maybe the zebra mussels are doing more then just filtering the water?
I know in Lake Oneida zebra mussels have been found in the stomachs of smallmouth bass, perhaps they are providing a food source for juvenile smallmouth? Perhaps all those mussels provide better habitat for the smallmouth fry to escape predation, I think it's something more than simply clearing the water.

There are some studies of the effects on predator populations. Here is a large one from Canada. Result: it depends. Sometimes one predator species benefits, sometimes others lose, sometimes all predators lose.

https://www.reabic.net/journals/mbi/2014/3/MBI_2014_Nienhuis_etal.pdf

Some highlights:

Quote
Condition and growth of game fish

Walleye

[Individual walleye] in lakes with zebra mussels were consistently smaller ... compared to individuals from lakes without zebra mussels.

Smallmouth bass

[Smallmouth bass] are in better condition as larger individuals in lakes where zebra mussel are present. However, growth rates of smallmouth bass were greater in lakes where zebra mussel were not detected.

Lake trout

[Lake trout] enter the population at smaller sizes, lake trout exhibit faster growth rates, achieving larger sizes at older ages in uninvaded lakes.

Northern pike

[In lakes without zebra mussel] individuals enter the population at smaller sizes, but grow faster and achieve larger sizes at ages than in lakes with zebra mussel.

Last edited by Bocomo; 07/08/20 01:09 PM.

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