Date of this Version
Texas contains more than one million privately owned ponds and reservoirs comprising some one-half million surface acres. Interest in managing these ponds for recreational fishing, especially for largemouth bass is high. In order to respond to this educational need, a series of symposia designed to provide information on intensive largemouth bass management was conducted. Symposia were conducted in Athens (2001), San Marcos (2003), and Conroe (2005). The fee-based programs ($50 pre-registration, $75 at the door) attracted 601 participants from Texas and several other states. Each participant received a copy of the symposia proceedings. Exhibitors providing private water management products and services were accommodated at each event. A participant survey revealed that problems with aquatic weed control was their primary concern of the majority (51%) of participants. One quarter of the survey respondents were willing to spend $51-$100 per surface acre in order to improve fishing, where 9% would spend in excess of $1,000 per surface acre. Most participants learned about the symposium they attended through direct mailing via their county Extension agent. Pre and post testing revealed individual knowledge gains of 75% (Athens), 65% (San Marcos), and 44% (Conroe). The Conroe symposium survey respondents were asked to provide economic impact and practices adopted information. They placed a mean value of $644 on the information they received and planned to adopt an average of 4.5 management practices as a result of what they learned.