Sportfish Assessments


Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists have developed techniques to assess the overall status of the major sport fisheries in lakes around the state. These assessments are used not only to give biologists an idea of the overall well being of the fishery in each water body, but they can also be used by anglers in planning their next fishing trip. For example, anglers can use the assessments to determine which lakes could result in good numbers of quality-size bass or where they might have the best chance of catching their next trophy.


The section entitled “Understanding The Largemouth Bass Assessment” gives the angler a better understanding of what type of information is used in the assessments and how they work. The specific results for each water body can be obtained by clicking on the lake name. The Department will be adding water bodies and species as the information becomes available. Check back here often for additional updates. Good luck and good fishing!!!


The Largemouth Bass Assessment


In 2003, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife developed methods to assess black bass populations, using multiple years of data collected on lakes across Kentucky. The assessments were developed to assist biologists with describing the overall well-being of the black bass population and to assist them with forecasting fishing trends in each lake. The assessment is based on the five population parameters that are shown below.


Bass length at Age-3 is an index of how fast the fish are growing in that lake (growth). Number of Age-1 bass is an index of how good the spawn was the year before (recruitment). Number of bass collected in each of the three size groups give biologists an idea of what fishing will be like in the lake that year (size structure).


The number of age-1 bass and the number of each size of bass is determined during spring electrofishing surveys at each lake and represent the number of fish collected in one hour of electrofishing.

  • Bass Length at Age-3
  • Number of Age-1 Bass
  • Number of Bass 12.0 to 14.9 Inches
  • Number of Bass 15 inches and Longer
  • Number of Bass 20 inches and Longer

For assessment purposes, lakes were divided into two size categories (greater than and less than 1000 acres). Each year the parameters collected at each lake are rated based on the table shown below. Each parameter can have 4 possible ratings (1 = poor, 2 = fair, 3 = good, 4 = excellent). For example, in a 1,500 acre lake, if 25 Age-1 bass are collected per hour, it would receive a 2 or a FAIR rating.

Largemouth Bass Assessment Graph for greater than 1000 acres  

Largemouth Bass Assessment graph for less than 1000 acres  

Once all parameters are rated, the scores for each of the 5 parameters are added together to give an overall assessment rating for the bass population in that lake for that given year. The actual assessment values for each parameter are then placed on graphs, similar to the one shown below. These graphs are used to track the rankings of each parameter in a given lake across years. The assessment ratings for each parameter vary from being poor to excellent. This information tells biologist how the fish populations are doing and what anglers can expect.

Overal Assessment Ratings Graph

Specific Lake Assessments for Largemouth Bass