As part of the New Hampshire Fish and Game
Department’s Warmwater Fisheries Management Program, we are
initiating a study to examine bass movement after release from bass
tournament weigh-ins held at Ames Farm Inn, Lake Winnipesaukee
(please see attached sheet for study justification). You are being
contacted because you, or others you know, may be fishing Lake
Winnipesaukee in the future and we need your help in collecting data
from tagged bass.
During 2007, NH Fish and Game Dept. personnel
will attend as many bass tournament weigh-ins
as possible at Ames Farm Inn, and tag all bass before release. We
will work with tournament directors to ensure that this tagging does
not severely increase weigh-in time or compromise fish health.
Individually numbered yellow tags will
be attached near the base of the bass’ dorsal fin (i.e. the fin
along the top of the back; see picture). Tags will look like a
2-inch piece of spaghetti and may be covered with algae, so look
carefully. DO NOT remove the tag from bass that are to be
Tags will be printed with instructions requesting anglers to contact
the NH Fish and Game Department with the following details:
Location where bass was caught and released (GPS or general
Date the bass was caught.
Whether bass was kept or not
Angler captures of tagged bass will be the
major source of information for this study so please ask ALL anglers
you know to be on the lookout for tagged bass when they fish Lake
Winnipesaukee and to please provide Fish and Game with the
requested information when they do catch a tagged bass.
Please convey this information to other anglers
who may be fishing Lake Winnipesaukee in the future.
Thank you for your time.
Hampshire Fish & Game Department
15 Ash Brook Court
Evaluation of Black Bass Movement After
Bass Tournament Weigh-In At Ames Farm, Lake Winnipesaukee
This bass movement study was initiated as a
result of bass tournament data analysis and angler concerns.
From 2001-2005, 48% of permitted bass
tournaments on Lake Winnipesaukee (170 tournaments) launched from
Ames Farm. This transcribes to the Ames Farm launch being
used by 64% (7,426 anglers) of all tournament participants on Lake
Winnipesaukee from 2001-2005. As a result of this heavy tournament
use, most bass weighed-in during bass tournaments in the lake are
released at or near this facility. From 2001-2005, 64% (16,226) of
all smallmouth bass and 64% (6,784) of all largemouth bass
weighed-in during permitted bass tournaments on Lake Winnipesaukee
were weighed-in (and released) at or near the Ames Farm Launch.
These values equate to 47,501 pounds of black bass (68% of total)
being released at or near Ames Farm from 2001-2005.
Large-scale redistribution of bass to Ames
Farm may be cause for concern for two main reasons:
1) Scientific studies have shown that bass may
remain in the general vicinity of weigh-in sites for days, weeks or
even months after release. A stockpiling of bass at weigh-in sites
could then lead to increased angler harvest and catch rates from
non-tournament anglers, increased competition for food and habitat,
and increased opportunities for bacterial or viral transmissions
(such as Largemouth Bass Virus).
2) Research has shown that some bass never
return to their capture site after weigh-in an release and the
percent of bass that do return to their capture site is generally
low (an average of 14% of largemouth and 32% of smallmouth bass
based on 12 studies). Limited movement of black bass back to their
place of capture can potentially harm bass fisheries through a
number of methods. Bass must use energy to find appropriate habitat
in their new area and depletion of energy reserves may increase the
probability for over winter mortality. Spawning success may also be
influenced, as male smallmouth bass are known to exhibit spawning
site fidelity from year to year. Bass may also face increased
competition for resources due to increased bass densities.
Additionally, fish placed into an unfamiliar area will potentially
be at a disadvantage for forage and habitat as compared to resident
These relocation/stockpiling issues may be more
severe for largemouth bass than smallmouth bass. Largemouth bass
have been shown to move smaller distances away from release sites
than do smallmouth bass and largemouth bass have been shown to be
more likely to be recaptured by anglers near their release site.
Additionally, typical largemouth bass habitat is lacking in the
immediate vicinity of Ames Farm, implying largemouth bass will have
to travel farther than smallmouth bass to find appropriate habitat