CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - The practice of catch and release by today's conservation minded bass tournament angler's has helped conserve our resources on lakes and waters through out the United States.

Released bass have been shown to survive very well when released immediately after being caught, but survival rate may not be as high for fish released after tournament events.

With the ever increasing number of bass tournaments, fish care is more important than ever before. It is especially important for anglers to pay close attention to their livewell management practices during the hot summer months when fish mortality is at it's highest due to the increased water temperatures.

Livewell management and fish care is not a difficult task, it just takes a little time, ice, release additives, and a properly working aeration system.

Both tournament anglers and organizers can play a major role in keeping tournament caught bass alive.

See more about Livewell and Fish Care.

Below are some quick pointers to help reduce mortality during tournaments for anglers.

Keys to Reducing Mortality

  • Minimize handling and air exposure time of fish. Land fish and remove hooks as quickly as possible
  • Protect the slime coat. Don't let fish flop on carpet or deck.
  • Do not keep fish out of water longer than you can hold your breath
  • When surface temperature exceeds 75° F, use continuous recirculation and add ice to cool the water to 10 degrees below the lakes surface temperature.
  • Keep foam created from continual recirculation and additives removed from top of livewell water.
  • Replace half of the livewell water with fresh water every 3 hours to remove ammonia created from fish waste and add ice to lower temperature back to the target range.
  • While in the weigh-in line place air stones in life-support tanks into your weigh-in bag.


Average Mortality Rates During Summer Months Using Different Aeration Methods