Freshwater Fisheries Research

bass underwater

The fish and invertebrates in Florida’s lakes and rivers are an important natural resource. Freshwater fishing is a significant contributor to tourism and the state’s economy. To ensure the health and sustainability of Florida’s aquatic resources, the Freshwater Fisheries Research section provides freshwater fishery, invertebrate, and habitat information to those in federal, state, and local governments who make decisions that affect Florida’s freshwater resources. The information is also made available to the public through news releases, magazine articles, social media, and the web.

Section Contacts

Jason Dotson,
Section Administrator

    Annual Budget
    including grants

    Highlights on Current Research

    The Effect of River Discharge on Fish Year Class Strength in the Apalachicola River

    Biologists are involved in a multi-year study to study the effect of water levels and flow, or floodplain inundation, on year-class strength on native fishes of the Apalachicola River.   Read More >

    Social and Biological Evaluation of a Statewide Largemouth Bass Harvest Regulation Change

    To evaluate the impacts of the 2016 largemouth bass regulation change, FWC researchers are examining the biological impacts on the fishery and gathering feedback from freshwater anglers.   Read More >

    Sample of Active Projects

    Man holding fish

    Juvenile Gulf Sturgeon Program

    In June 2017, FWC scientists from the Pensacola region began field work to study juvenile Gulf Sturgeon in the Yellow River to better understand the habitat use and abundance patterns of these rare fishes. Initial results from this field work are being analyzed and will guide efforts in 2018.

    Men sitting on boat

    Looking at Caught Bass Survival

    Freshwater Fisheries biologists studied livewells during summer bass fishing tournaments to evaluate how tournament procedures might be improved to increase survival of caught bass. Bass anglers, concerned over the impacts of tournaments on bass populations, requested the study.

    Sonar map

    Mapping Plants

    Freshwater fisheries researchers have recently added sonar-based plant mapping to a long-term monitoring project. Previously completed with the naked eye from the surface, this new technology will provide biologists with accurate vegetation details from each lake that can be tracked over time.