Changes in the Sport Fishery and Fish Population of West Point Lake, Since Impoundment
The early years of West Point Reservoir were marked by a rapidly expanding fish population and heavy use and harvest by anglers. During the late 1970's and early 1980's, the sport fishing harvest was dominated by black crappie and crappie anglers made up the majority of the fishing use. Gizzard shad were the most abundant species in the lake and were limiting the production of sportfish both directly and indirectly. The minimum harvest limit on largemouth bass was increased in 1983 from 305 to 406 mm in an effort to increase predation on, and reproduction by, gizzard shad. By 1985, the bass population had significantly increased and the abundance of large gizzard shad had decreased. Since that time this more desirable fish population balance has persisted. The sport fishery is now dominated by anglers seeking largemouth bass but crappie remain the most abundant species in the harvest. The reservoir is a 10,481-hectare mainstream impoundment on the Chattahoochee River near LaGrange, Georgia. It was impounded in the fall of 1974 by the U.S. Army, Corps of Engineers to provide flood control, hydroelectric power, and recreational facilities.