Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Wisconsin Fishery
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Kelling, C.J., D.A. Isermann, B.L. Sloss, and K.N. Turnquist. 2016. Diet overlap and predation between largemouth bass and walleye in Wisconsin lakes using DNA barcoding to improve taxonomic resolution. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 36:3, 621-629.


Over the last decade, largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides abundance has increased in many lakes in the northern USA and Canada, causing concern among anglers and biologists regarding the potential for largemouth bass to negatively affect walleye Sander vitreus populations through predation or competition for prey resources. Our objective was to determine if diet overlap and predation occurred between adult walleye and largemouth bass in four northern Wisconsin lakes. Stomach contents were collected from largemouth bass and walleyes on each lake and a combination of visual identification and DNA barcoding was utilized to assess diet composition. A single occurrence of walleye predation was observed in the diets of 945 largemouth bass. Moderate to high diet overlap was observed between largemouth bass and walleye throughout much of the study period. Largemouth bass predation is probably not a primary factor affecting walleye abundance in the four study lakes we selected, but high diet overlap values suggest potential for competition between the two species.