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SC Studying Redeye Bass

leah kirk

 Since 2004 South Carolina fishery biologist have documented the rapid decline and loss of Redeye Bass populations in Savannah Basin Reservoirs due to hybridization with introduced Alabama Bass. Though not native to South Carolina waters, Alabama Bass have expanded widely since their unauthorized introduction into Lakes Keowee and Russell.

Their impact to native Redeye Bass has been dramatic. From 2004 to 2010 redeye numbers declined precipitously in Savannah Basin reservoirs, while hybrids between Redeye and Alabama Bass increased. Results indicate that the continued presence of Redeye Bass in Lakes Jocasee, Keowee, Hartwell, and Russell into the future is certainly in doubt. While Redeye had thrived in these reservoirs historically, the species native habitat is the cool flowing Piedmont streams and rivers that feed them. We are currently surveying these populations, working to delineate the upstream reach of Alabama Bass and their hybrids from the reservoirs. The identification of pure stream populations of Redeye Bass, and the habitats they are associated with will help to define management objectives for conserving native Redeye Bass.