Category Archives: Conservation

LMBV Update Report from MN DNR

The Minnesota Bass Federation Nation (MNBF) helped the MN DNR to conduct a sampling survey on several popular MN lakes this past summer to see if fish in these waters tested positive for LMBV.  Samples were also taken during a Bassmasters Weekend Series event on the Whitefish Chain.

Read Press Release Here or Below:

Bass disease discovered in inland Minnesota lakes (2006-12-12)

A fish disease discovered five years ago in the Mississippi River has spread to Minnesota’s inland lakes, the Department of Natural Resources announced today.

Largemouth Bass Virus (LMBV), an iridovirus, a family of virus that only affects fish, amphibians and reptiles, has been found in 20 states since its discovery in 1991. The disease was found in five of nine metro area lakes sampled last summer.

“We need to keep a sharp eye on the presence and impacts of Largemouth Bass Virus,” said Al Stevens, DNR fisheries program consultant. “The virus has been documented to cause high mortality rates of bass caught and released in tournaments conducted in hot weather.”

The DNR is currently considering rules that could ban off-site weigh-ins at bass fishing tournaments during the hottest times of summer.

Found primarily in the southeastern United States, the disease is known to occasionally cause fish kills, generally in relation to stress from high water temperatures and from handling and transportation by anglers. The disease may spread by either transporting fish or water from infected lakes.

“Anglers should always drain their live wells when leaving lakes,” Steven said. “By taking this action, we can slow the spread of diseases like LMBV as well a number of other invasive species such as zebra mussels and Eurasian water milfoil.”

The DNR partnered with the Minnesota Bass Federation to collect samples following bass fishing tournaments at nine metro area lakes known to receive high fishing pressure. The disease was discovered at Green Lake (Chisago County), Prior Lake, Lake Minnetonka, Rush Lake and Forest Lake. Lakes sampled that were negative for LMBV are Clearwater Lake, North/South Center Lake, Whitefish Lake and Green Lake (Kandiyohi County).

So far, the disease has proved fatal only in largemouth bass. LMBV attacks the swim bladder and may cause largemouth bass to appear bloated. The disease also affects their ability to control their buoyancy and maintain their position in the water column.

Infected, normal looking largemouth bass can be affected by all kinds of stressors including high temperatures and lower oxygen levels.

Other members of the sunfish family known to become infected with the virus include spotted bass, Suwanee bass, smallmouth bass, bluegill, redbreast sunfish, white crappie and black crappie.

Fish infected with LMBV are safe to handle and eat. The virus is not known to infect any warm-blooded animals, including humans. The DNR is considering additional monitoring next summer to better determine the current distribution of the disease in Minnesota and assess its spread over time.


Anglers can help prevent the spread of Largemouth Bass Virus and as well as other fish diseases and the spread of exotic species by taking the following steps:

– do not move live fish or fish parts from one body of water to another and do not release live bait into any body of water; a permit is required to transport and stock live fish in Minnesota

– remove any visible plants and animals from boats, trailers, and other boating equipment before leaving any water body

– drain water from the motor, live well, bilge and transom wells at the ramp access before leaving any water body

– properly dispose of unwanted minnows and leeches on shore; never release live bait into a water body, or release aquatic animals from one water body into another

– minimize targeting of largemouth bass from mid-July to mid-August, especially during exceptionally hot weather conditions

– wash/dry boats and other boating equipment that normally get wet to kill exotics/pathogens that were not visible at the boat launch; recent research has determined that LMBV can live for several days in water, confirming the importance of this practice

– report dead or dying adult largemouth bass to the local DNR fisheries office (office locations and telephone numbers are listed in the Fishing Regulations Handbook).

Rich’s Bassin’ Forum
Bass Fishing Tackle Blog

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Oxygenation or Aeration? Tournament Bass Survival….

Here an abstract response to an earlier article that I had posted.

As water temperature goes up, bass consume oxygen faster, and water holds less oxygen”. It takes more aeration to keep bass alive in warm temperatures.” 

In reality, fish metabolism is controlled by water temperature and [ fish metabolism] is limited by available dissolved oxygen saturation and concentration.
The above quote states that more aeration will correct a low oxygen deficits in a livewell with a limit of fish. Actually the treatment of choice for livewell hypoxia is and has always been supplemental pure oxygen administration, not more air (aeration). More aeration only supersaturated the water with nitrogen which increases hypoxic stress and may cause pop eye, gas embolism and gas bubble disease. All of which may increase acute and post release delayed mortality.
It is very common mistake (intentional or unintentional) that most writers call air oxygen and call oxygen air reinforcing confusion. Some writers may know the difference between the 2 gases, but most, obviously do not know the difference. This article presents another confusing example.
More aeration never insures safe oxygenation during live fish transport in the summer or any other time in a bass boat livewell, weigh-in holding tank or release boat haul tank.

Rich’s Bassin’ Forum
Bass Fishing Tackle Blog

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Sportsmen & Women need to get out and Vote!

Hey All you Hunters and Fishers,

I know a lot of you have not voted in previous elections because you were busy deer hunting or some other outdoor activities.  Here is a quick and simple way to vote via absentee and get your vote counted.

Click on the banner or visit and make the outdoorsmen voice heard.  It is important, that we as Sportsperson’s participate in this election. The future of our natural resources and our hunting and fishing heritage is in your hands. Who we elect to public office will be a major influence in how we go about obtaining out goals.

Rich’s Bassin’ Forum
Bass Fishing Blog

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Summer Bass Need Special Care

Summer Bass Need Special Care
By Vern Wagner
Conservation Director
Minnesota Bass Federation Nation

Organizers of summer bass tournaments – big and small – need to do a better job of caring for the fish. Many mortality problems are based on scale: The larger the tournament, the more fish to weigh, and the more difficult it is to keep those fish alive.  Small bass clubs that bring 30 to 60 fish to a weigh-in present fewer problems, because their catch can be weighed and released in a matter of minutes.

So, what needs to happen?  Should the DNR have the authority to modify tournament permits if weather conditions are that of extreme heat? Should tournament organizers be required to supply ice and livewell additives such as salt?  What about the weigh-in equipment and practices?  How long can we keep bass in plastic bags without fresh water or added oxygen?

The science and practices that support decreasing bass tournament mortality is growing.  So, when is it appropriate to hold tournament organizers responsible for applying the science? And what should be the official DNR responsibility in this?  These are the questions that myself and Ken Snow, conservation director of the Wisconsin Bass Federation, are asking.

As water temperature goes up, bass consume oxygen faster, and water holds less oxygen. It takes more aeration to keep bass alive in warm temperatures.  Ten pounds of bass in a bag containing only one to two gallons of water will reduce oxygen to lethal limits in two minutes.  The point? It’s vital (literally) to frequently exchange water while handling fish in summer.

Here’s why: a bass’s temperature tolerance depends on the temperature to which it is acclimated. This means that ice should be added to livewells and holding tanks to maintain water within plus or minus 5 degrees of the prevailing lake or river temperatures, especially in warmer weather.

Anglers also must consider survivability in light of fish diseases known to exist in certain areas. Largemouth bass virus has been identified in many pools of the Mississippi.  This disease first was seen in southern waters in the early ’90s and has resulted in significant post-tournament kills. Fortunately, LMBV has worked its way through southern bass populations without any long-term consequences and is likely to do so up north.  But questions remain.  While LMBV is still a comparatively minor threat in the Mississippi, is it appropriate to do DNR fish studies here?  Recent research studies in Wisconsin that held large concentrations of bass in trap nets resulted in very high mortality.  In light of recent tournament-related fish kills, are these studies detrimental to the overall population? S ince bass aren’t routinely kept for dinner plates, losing some fish may not be catastrophic.  But in the eyes of many, floating fish and large mortality rates create serious public relations problems for tournament anglers.  Bass tournament mortality entails more than fish weighed in dead or floaters found after a tournament.

Survivability is an ongoing process, influenced by age, disease, and injury.  Water quality, current flow in rivers, and dissolved oxygen levels also play a part, as does stress caused by hooking, handling and release.  Bass anglers frequently are asked if catch-and-release tournaments harm the fishery.  In fact, most lakes with a history of frequent tournaments don’t show signs of reduced density or lack of recruitment.  Habitat is key in determining fish populations.

Though all bass tournament anglers should take individual responsibility for keeping summer fish in good condition, the real need is for the large tournament circuits to lead the way. We can’t put all the responsibility on our state DNRs to police tournament ranks.  Leadership should come from tournament organizers rather than state mandates.  Nationally known tours conducted by the FLW and BASS – in league with their respective federations – already have a level of influence and credibility with tournament participants that state agencies may never approach. Organizers should make full use of existing science to make decisions on tournament procedure, because they are in the best position to experiment and quickly modify techniques used for the weigh-in process.

For example, bass tournaments during periods of high heat may require special modifications, such as perpetual weigh-in, and/or a reduced bag limits for that day. Many good publications exist that can help the tournament organizers cope with summer conditions.  Keeping Bass Alive is one example; using the Shimano Water Weigh-in is another.

While tournament organizers have the credibility, state agencies have the clout to mandate action and can move things along in a positive direction.  We see a need for these entities to work together, perhaps by moving bass tournaments to periods when water quality is optimal.
Individual bass anglers can also do their part to keep fish in prime condition. Everyone can: Keep livewells well aerated; run the pumps continuously, not just on a timer cycle; frequently exchange water; monitor water temperatures; and add ice and salt as needed.
What about the future? We see the next best step as creation of a tournament weighmaster certification program. Minnesota already has taken a first step in developing a weighmaster training curriculum for its clubs.

While summer bass tournament weigh-ins can present a challenge to tournament organizers, the science, experience and techniques to keep fish alive and successfully released already exist. We only need to apply what we already know.

Hope you enjoyed this piece!
Rich’s Bassin’ Forum
Bass Fishing Blog

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Stren Series Fish Kill

In a recent tournament held out of La Crosse, WI on the Mississippi River, there was an unusually large delayed mortality from the tournament fish.  It is unclear from the stories that I have read on excatly how the fish were handled and if there were any other factors that could have magnified the problem.

See Full Article.

The main thing, is not to jump to conlcusions until we get all the facts.  A similar study was conducted last year and the way the fish were held for the study was thought to have created eronious results.  My early thoughts is that these largemouth bass, many of them probably carrying the LMBV, were over stressed in combination of the tournament proccess and the holding of them in areas with improper current flow.


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Turn In Poachers – 1.800.652.9093

This is a great program, check it out!  TIP Website

What does TIP do?
TIP furnishes rewards to callers providing information which leads to an arrest. Rewards range from up to $100 for fish, small game and non-game species violations, up to $250 for big game and endangered species violations and up to $1,000 for flagrant or commercial violations. Callers may remain anonymous.

TIP educates the public about the effect of poaching on Minnesota’s game and fish through:
• The TIP ‘Wall of Shame’ at sportshows and other events.
• Educational activity books for young conservationists
• Speakers
• Brochures, billboards, license envelopes and newsletters

TIP needs your help!! You may report violations anonymously: Call 1-800-652-9093.

Help Protect our Resources!

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Make your Outdoors Dollars go Farther

Cruising some other outdoors Blogs and I came across some good info on saving money at the pump – see article.

Basically you just click on this LINK, which takes you to an MSN website where you can just enter your zip code and get all the gas stations in that area.  In Lakeville, MN where I live, there was a $0.26 range between 28 stations.  That is a lot of money when you are filling up an SUV & a Boat.  My tow vehicle takes about 20 gallons and my boat takes 40 gallons.  So lets say I pour 45 gallons between them…..  at $0.20 savings per gallon…  that would be a cool $9.00 in my pocket   It gives prices for premium & diesel as well. 

Hope this helps you all save a few bucks so you can buy more fishing lures!


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Fins and Feathers Rally for Dedicated Funding, Wetlands & Cleanwater

Hey Minnesota Outdoors People!  If you have not heard about the Duck Rally at our Capitol this Saturday – April 22nd, you have now.  This is a very important event to support legislation for dedicated funding for conservation projects here in our great state.  Check Out the Website –


There are many fun events going on down there.  Duck calling contests, local radio personalities….


This is a great and fun way to get involved and support a very worthwhile cause.  If you are like most sportsmen, you are not much for sitting down and taking the time to phone or write to your representatives.  This is a great way to show your support by getting yourself and your buddies down to the capitol this weekend.  The weather looks like its going to be great, so grab your duck call and your cammo and garner attention from the legislators to get this bill done!

P.S.  Gopher Bassmasters is holding a CastingKids Contest at Gander Mountain in Lakeville as well.  10am-1pm –