Fish Care on HOT Days

Fish Care Tips

  • Minimize handling and air exposure time.  Land fish and remove hooks as quickly as possible.
  •  Protect the slime coat.  Don’t let fish flop on carpet or deck.
  •  When the surface water temperature is less than 75° F, aerate the livewell by flushing with fresh water.
  •  Run recirculating aeration continuously when the boat is moving and cannot pump in fresh water.
  •  When surface water temperature exceeds 75° F, use continuous recirculation.  Add a block of ice to cool the water.  The target temperature of the water in the livewell should be 5° F cooler than the surface water temperature.
  •  When operating the livewell in recirculation mode with more than 5 lb. of bass, replace half of the livewell water with fresh water every 3 hours to remove ammonia.  When surface water temperatures exceed 75° F, add ice to lower livewell temperature to the target of 5° F cooler than the surface water temperature.
  •  At weigh-in, fill bags with at least 2 gallons of livewell water.
  •  Handle Fish with wet hands.

Additional recommendations for catch and delayed release bass tournaments:

  • Stager the weigh-in so fish are in bags for as little time as possible.
  • When anglers are waiting in line, never rest the bag on the hot pavement.
  • When air temperatures are especially warm minimize the number of pictures and any other activities that keep fish out of the water.
  • Livewells used to hold fish should be in working order and routinely flushing water with the lake environment in order to prevent excessive temperatures in the livewell.
  • Do not release floating bass.  If a bass does not actively swim away at release it is better for the angler that caught the fish to harvest it as a part of his/her daily bag limit.  Having an independent observer watching the release of all fish who is responsible for determining whether a fish should be kept or not is recommended.

Finally, smallmouth bass have an optimal preferred temperature that is 5-10° F cooler than that of largemouth bass. 

These tips were shared with me by Michigan DNR.

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