DGIF: New invasive species of fish discovered in Virginia’s lakes

DGIF: New invasive species of fish discovered in Virginia’s lakes
The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) is warning Virginians of a species that has been discovered at locations around the state. (Source: DGIF)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) is warning Virginians of a species that has been discovered at locations around the state.

Alabama Bass, which is a black bass species native to Alabama and parts of Georgia, have been detected at several locations in Virginia which includes:

  • Claytor Lake
  • Philpott Lake
  • Martinsville Reservoir
  • Lake Gaston

DGIF says the species are highly invasive and threaten both Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass through competition and hybridization.

GIF believes that further spread of Alabama Bass may jeopardize bass fisheries in systems such as:

  • Smith Mountain Lake
  • Lake Anna
  • Lake Moomaw
  • South Holston Reservoir
  • The upper James River
  • Shenandoah River

Negative impacts to existing Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass populations have followed introductions of Alabama Bass in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Alabama Bass are nearly identical in appearance to the Spotted Bass, which is native to the southwestern portion of Virginia.

Although Alabama Bass can grow somewhat larger than Spotted Bass, they have a tendency to become stunted, ultimately creating a fishery dominated by small bass.

DGIF says Anglers who suspect they have captured an Alabama Bass should take a picture of the fish, clip off a thumbnail-sized portion of one of the pelvic fins and store the fin clip dry in an envelope.

The pelvic fins are located on the bottom of the fish, just under the head.

Anglers should contact the DGIF at fisheries@dgif.virginia.gov or call 804-367-1293.

Copyright 2020 WWBT. All rights reserved.