MINIMUM FISH CARE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR
KEEPING BASS HEALTHY THROUGH THE WEIGH-IN PROCESS
[April 11, 2003]
1. WEIGH-IN BAGS: HIGH QUALITY AND NUMBERS ISSUED!
|WVBF Conservation Director Jim Summers demonstrates the effectiveness
of the Federation's tournament fish handling procedures to some interested observers at the 2001 WVBF Buddy Trail
Tournament at Summersville Lake.
- Fish should be kept in live wells with aerators running continuously while waiting for a weigh-in bag.
- Use a standard, high-quality, non-perforated weigh-in bag that holds water.
- No more than 10 bags should be issued at a tournament. All bags should be issued solely by the
- Weigh in flights if the tournament has over 40 boats.
2. LIFE SUPPORT TANKS: ENCOURAGE ANGLERS TO USE THEM!
- Seventy-five to 100-gallon life support tanks should be made available for anglers waiting in line.
- Life support tanks should be filled with lake or river water just before weigh-in to prevent heating.
- If lake or river water temperature exceeds 75 degrees, tank water should be cooled 10 degrees below the lake
or river temperature with blocks or bags of ice.
- Tanks should be aerated with recirculating pump or air compressor. If desired, add Catch & Release®
as directed for volume of tank.
- Strongly encourage contestants to use the life support tanks and to dip fresh water from life support
tank into bags while waiting in line.
3. FISH CARE: HANDLE FISH AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE!
- Tournament personnel should wear latex or rubber gloves. All baskets should be checked and adjusted to weigh
the same prior to any weigh-in procedures. Baskets should have holes in bottom to hasten the draining of water.
- Fish should be emptied into plastic laundry basket resting in a sink.
- Fish should be checked for length but should not be re-bagged. A lid should be placed on top of fish when basket
- Extra baskets should be available to weigh individual "Big Bass".
- Fish should then be transported in the basket to holding tank.
4. THE HOLDING TANK: A TECHNIQUE TO ENHANCE FISH RECOVERY
5. THE SALT-DIP STATION: A NEW TECHNIQUE IN HELPING FISH!
- Every tournament should have a salt-dip station! The salt solution kills bacteria and fungus, and stimulates
the slime producing cells on the fish's body. Salt also dehydrates the fish by pulling water out through the skin
and gills, but when the fish is placed back into lake or river it absorbs fresh water like a sponge, flushing toxins.
- To create the proper salt solution, mix three pounds of non-iodized salt with fifteen gallons of water
in an aerated sink or tub. Mix well !!
- Prior to release, submerge basket of bass in salt solution for 10 seconds. No more!
- Bass may loose equilibrium and roll over; this is a normal reaction.
- Release fish into lake, river or release boat following salt dip.
- Drain and refill salt solution after 20-30 baskets of fish. Always have additional salt and water ready.
THE RELEASE SITE: HIGH QUALITY WATER!
- Release site should have good water quality and adequate depth. Do not release fish into shallow or stagnant
water with low dissolved oxygen. If a high quality release site is not available consider using release boats.
- Low boat traffic areas are preferred for release sites. Do not release fish right at the shoreline. Use a dock
or a beached boat to place released fish into deeper water.
- Try to change tournament sites on a regular basis to avoid high concentrations of fish being in one area.
1. RELEASE TUBES
- To construct release tubes, use large diameter PVC pipes (at least 8-inch diameter) with smooth joints.
- Water should flow continuously through pipe. A drop angle of more than 30 degrees is recommended. Delivery
end should be no more than one foot from the lake or river surface and fish should be emptied into water at least
three feet deep.
2. RELEASE BOATS: Highly Recommended !!!
- To distribute fish away from heavily used boat ramps & marinas, release boats should be used.
- Pontoon boats with 100-gallon aerated tanks are recommended, but contestant's boats can be employed to shuttle
fish away from weigh-in area. Always continuously aerate live wells during holding and transportation.
3. AIR BLADDER OVERINFLATION
- If you plan to hold a tournament on deep reservoirs (i.e. Summersville, Burnsville, Sutton) during the summer
contact your district WVDNR biologists for advice on fish care.
4. OTHER WEIGH-IN CONSIDERATIONS
- During the weigh-in, place dead fish on ice in a cooler immediately. Dead fish can be donated to the West Virginia
Division of Natural Resources for age, genetic, and disease evaluations.
- Workers should police weigh-in area, leaving it cleaner than when they arrived. Workers should remain in the
release area for at least one hour after weigh-in to pick up any dead fish.
- Always clean all tanks and holding facilities following any tournament with a solution of 1/4 cup of
bleach per gallon of water
Quick and efficient weigh-ins where fish are subject to minimal
handling while maintained in adequate life support conditions throughout the weigh-in process are the key to minimizing
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CALL:
Chris O'Bara, WVDNR, 304-420-4550
Jim Summers, WV BASS Federation, 304-287-7700
Dale Doty, Ohio River Adopt-A-Bass, 304-455-2867
WVDNR District Telephone Numbers:
District I Fairmont - 304-367-2720
District II Romney - 304-822-3551
District III French Creek - 304-924-6211
District IV Beckley - 304-256-6947
District V Point Pleasant - 304-675-0871
District VI Parkersburg - 304-420-4550
Keeping Bass Alive by Gene Gilland and Hal Schramm
5845 Carmichael Road
Montgomery, Alabama 36117
THIS INFORMATION PROVIDED TO YOU BY: