Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Donald Tarter

Second Advisor

Leonard J. Deutsch


Due to increasing pressure from Ohio River bass anglers with regard to decreasing catch rates in 1981,1990, and 1997, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) initiated a study of black bass populations. The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO), in conjunction with state and Federal agencies, has collected population data on Ohio River fishes at lock chambers and has measured various water quality parameters since 1957. That data coupled with Ohio River bass tournament data collected by the DNR since 1975 and other fishery data sets provided a historic look into the variability of angler success. These data sets were also used to characterize trends in abundant forage fish like gizzard shad and emerald shiners and assess their relationship to environmental data. Historic angler success was then compared to these data sets and statistically analyzed with SAS (p = 0.05 confidence level). There was not a significant difference in historic angling success rates since 1975; the bad fishing years were not statistically different from the good fishing years. The number of freshwater drum seem to be positively correlated with the number of smallmouth bass found in lock chambers. The two variables most expected to show a negative effect on fishing success, river flow and numbers of gizzard shad, did not show any positive correlations with fishing success in this study. Parameters such as pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity were found to be possible significant predictors of fishing success, especially when combined with one or more of the other parameters. Dissolved oxygen was positively associated with numbers of largemouth bass.


Fish communities – Ohio River.

Basses (Fish) – Ohio River.

Forage fishes.

Bass fishing – Ohio River.