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2007 New Hampshire Fish + Game Bass Study at Ames Farm

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 released. 


Tags will be printed with instructions requesting anglers to contact the NH Fish and Game Department with the following details:

  · Tag Number
  · Location where bass was caught and released (GPS or general location)
  · 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.


Gabe Gries 
Fisheries Biologist II
Warmwater Project Leader
New Hampshire Fish & Game Department
Region 4, 15 Ash Brook Court
Keene, NH   03431
Phone: 603-352-9669
Fax: 603-352-8798


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 fish.

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 after release.

Director: Don Mayer
Assistant Director: TBF

If you plan on attending any event please contact Don Mayer, via the Message Board on this website or via email at Cell: 603-986-8733.