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Jan 23rd, 2013
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Texas ShareLunker Program #14280103 02/10/22 01:55 AM
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I'm posting this on a new thread so hopefully we can keep the conversation civil.

I had a lengthy discussion with a key individual at the ShareLunker Program today. Everything I'm posting here is paraphrased in my own words and not an exact quote. Here's what I learned:

The average ShareLunker produces approximately 50,000 fry in the program. Some fish don't spawn at all. Some fish lay 20,000 eggs, some lay 100,000. Some lay 30,000 twice. Average it out and let's call it 50,000.

In the wild the average survival rate of an egg to a 2.5 inch fingerling is less than 5%. The average survival rate from egg to adulthood is something like .0002%. So if a ShareLunker sized fish lays 50,000 eggs in the wild she'll on average produce 2,500 fingerlings, of which 10 will make it adulthood. *Note ShareLunker sized bass produce far more eggs than an average sized bass. An "average" bass produces something closer to 10,000 eggs.

At Athens, those same fish also produce 50,000 eggs, and virtually 100% of them make it to fingerling size of 2.5 inches. Most of the bass are stocked in our lakes at this size. All of the fish are fed live food. They start with zooplankton and move up to feeder fish as they get bigger. Some subset of the bass are grown to advanced fingerlings of 6 inches. So at this point, just on raw numbers, a ShareLunker bred fish is going to produce, (on average) 200 fish that will make it to adulthood. (2.5" wild and program fish have the same survivability once in a lake) So on straight math the ShareLunker program is at least 20 times more productive in terms of producing adult fish than wild reproduction.

Here's where the math really gets skewed though. The average lake in Texas has a bass population that is less than 20% pure Florida strain. So there is an 80% chance that a released 13lb bass is going to breed with bass of northern or hybrid genetics. This drives the odds of trophy offspring (13lbs + down to almost zero.)

Obviously all the fish bred in Athens are 100% Florida's.

So if you are keeping up with the math here, the average 13lb+ bass breeding in the wild is likely to produce on average 2 (10 X .2) adult fish with trophy class potential. Compare this to the program bred fish which produce on average 200 adult fish with trophy class potential and you now have a 100 fold increase in trophy production.[/b]

Other interesting facts:

It takes a bass roughly 1.5 months to go from egg to 2.5 inch fingerling. They can get to 6 inches in less than 6 months.

Athens can hold up to 23 ShareLunkers at one time.

The average stay for a ShareLunker is only a couple of months. Most fish are released back into their home lake as soon as they spawn which is often in March or April.

Survivability of a 2.5" bred or wild hatched fingerlings is roughly the same in the wild.

Survivability of a 6" advanced fingerlings in the wild is "excellent."

Right now there are 5 fish in the program plus two long term residents.

Roughly 20% of the ShareLunkers caught in the last 5 years we descendants of previous ShareLunkers.

Some lakes in Texas have a higher percentage of Florida strain bass (Lake Fork for instance) because of statewide stocking programs including the ShareLunker program.

It's also worth pointing out that the mortality rate for any fish caught by hook and line is somewhere between 5-20% depending on how the fish is handled. For giant old fish like ShareLunkers, this number is unfortunately probably higher. Just because you release her and she swims away does not mean she survives. Now certainly putting them in a tank and driving them halfway across the state adds some stress, but it's also true these fish receive top notch medical treatment while in care of Athens. Perhaps some that would have died upon release survive with the medical care. We debate this point, but in any case, it's not clear to me mortality is any higher in the program than with a release.

The last point the gentleman I spoke to made with me is that "we are all fishermen and we are all on the same team." We all want the same thing. We want to see our natural resources thrive and we all want to spend time on the water enjoying our favorite sport and hopefully catching the fish of a lifetime!

A final thought from me:

If you are blessed enough to catch one of these incredibly rare fish, do whatever you want. Release her, submit her to the program, you caught her, you earned the right to choose!



"Bragging may not bring happiness, but no man having caught a large fish goes home through an alley." -A.L.

www.LunkerLore.com

Moritz Chevrolet - 9101 Camp Bowie W Blvd, Fort Worth, TX - Monte Coon (817) 696-2003
Re: Texas ShareLunker Program [Re: Jpurdue] #14280113 02/10/22 02:02 AM
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Shut up already.

Re: Texas ShareLunker Program [Re: Jpurdue] #14280116 02/10/22 02:06 AM
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roflmao

Re: Texas ShareLunker Program [Re: Jpurdue] #14280120 02/10/22 02:08 AM
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Not to mention the 10-12 years the fish naturally already spawned in the lake The gentics are already there But the magic mix has to be there for optimum growth

It’s a good program for that mix not to mention the publicity


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Re: Texas ShareLunker Program [Re: Jpurdue] #14280132 02/10/22 02:18 AM
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Pretty cool stuff, hopefully the forage and rest of the ecosystem can keep up.

Re: Texas ShareLunker Program [Re: Jpurdue] #14280134 02/10/22 02:19 AM
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How many SAL offspring are in the top 50 Bass caught in Texas?

Re: Texas ShareLunker Program [Re: Jpurdue] #14280138 02/10/22 02:20 AM
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Re: Texas ShareLunker Program [Re: Jpurdue] #14280141 02/10/22 02:23 AM
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T L T R, but thank you for your hardwork.


Texdawg: "I’m the only guy on here that would even disappoint a hooker"
"I would whore myself out just to avoid listening to either of those nozzles"
Re: Texas ShareLunker Program [Re: Jpurdue] #14280156 02/10/22 02:31 AM
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Dr. JFauci has given his opinion, I’d like to hear the real facts from the TPWD biologist. Let’s see the numbers of true SAL fish from previous SAL entries. (I believe the correct answer is 2)

How many years has Jalisco been stocked, should be seeing something from that experiment, I would think.


And doesn’t the SAL program sell some of the fry?

Last edited by grout-scout; 02/10/22 02:36 AM.
Re: Texas ShareLunker Program [Re: Jpurdue] #14280160 02/10/22 02:33 AM
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Thank you sir for an informative, well written post. thumb

Re: Texas ShareLunker Program [Re: grout-scout] #14280172 02/10/22 02:41 AM
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Originally Posted by grout-scout
Dr. JFauci has given his opinion, I’d like to hear the real facts from the TPWD biologist. Let’s see the numbers of true SAL fish from previous SAL entries. (I believe the correct answer is 2)


More personal attacks. Nice.

My name by the way is Josh Alwine, I don't hide behind a handle. You can look me up online a million different ways. I'm a regular dude, nice guy in person. Love to fish, and probably just an average angler.

If ya'll don't like my posts you could just not read them. Or add something of value. The name calling gets super old though.

The program only got the ability to genetic test in the last few years. They are slowly working their way back through all the SALs, but it takes time. I was told they are going to publish the data "soon." I pressed for an estimate and got 20% of the entries from the last five years. I'm sure as you go back in time the percentage will go down. I'd also think as time goes on the percentage will likely go up.


"Bragging may not bring happiness, but no man having caught a large fish goes home through an alley." -A.L.

www.LunkerLore.com

Re: Texas ShareLunker Program [Re: Jpurdue] #14280184 02/10/22 02:52 AM
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You said in your opening statement that “these are your words and not the biologist”. Then proceeded to go on with numbers that aren’t true. Looking at last years info, they averaged 11,820 fry per fish, for 271,872 total fry.


Also your 20% number doesn’t jive with theirs. Then we can go on how so few many fish survive in the wild.

Last edited by grout-scout; 02/10/22 02:59 AM.
Re: Texas ShareLunker Program [Re: ToadSnatcher14] #14280186 02/10/22 02:54 AM
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Originally Posted by ToadSnatcher14


roflmao


GO FISH!
Re: Texas ShareLunker Program [Re: Jpurdue] #14280191 02/10/22 03:01 AM
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That was my polite way of saying I talked while I was driving and was going off memory. My memory is pretty good though. If you'd like I'm happy to ask if I can share there contact info and if they are okay with it I'll send it to you and you can call them yourself. They told me that some fish don't spawn at all. Some lay 20,000 eggs, some lay 100,000. He best guess at an average was 50,000. Maybe that's a long term average and last year was an anomaly. Maybe some of last years fish didn't spawn at all and that has skewed the number. I'm not sure man, just sharing what he told me. I believe he said they usually average 3,000-4,000 eggs per lb of fish.


"Bragging may not bring happiness, but no man having caught a large fish goes home through an alley." -A.L.

www.LunkerLore.com

Re: Texas ShareLunker Program [Re: Jpurdue] #14280193 02/10/22 03:03 AM
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They could just concentrate on stocking pure Floridas and be done with it.


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