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Harris

The bite is good at Harris right now with heavy sacks continuing to be weighed during the Wed Night Tournaments with 18 plus winning last night. The unfortunate part is that the water temp is so hot on the surface (91) the majority of the big fish are dead prior to hitting the scales. There have been over 12 big fish in excess of 6lbs die in the past two weeks. Fishermen reported doing everything they could to save them by adding ice and over the counter solutions with little improvement. The tournament directors do an excellent job getting the fish weighed and returned to the lake as quickly as possible, the high temps with low oxygen are just too much for the big fish to overcome.
 

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Nothing like some tourney fisherman to kill off the big fish for us. Something needs to change, there is no reason at all that 12 big fish should have been KILLED. And high temps and low oxygen cannot be blamed for this. Livewells have aerators and a tourney fisherman should have the means to keep his fish alive. There are no excuses for this. The directors ARE NOT DOING their jobs if this many big fish are being killed. deplorable
 

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Wow, that's a shame, especially since those are most likely big females - the ones responsible for the vast majority of reproduction. I bet a lot more fish would make it in alive if dead fish weren't counted.

If the fish can't reliably be released alive after being weighed in, then something definitely needs to change. Maybe a way to measure and release them on from the boats? I would think something like a neutral observer on each boat with a scale and video camera would be feasible. Otherwise you really have to look at stopping the tournaments altogether. Killing off a dozen 6lb+ fish every couple weeks isn't doing anyone any good, long term.
 

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I had 24 lbs last week and all of my fish were very lively when released. I did use 3 jugs of frozen lake water with 2 caps of please release me. This fish are still really stressed from the spawn and the water going up 15 degrees in the past 2 weeks.

The water a lot of these fish are being pulled from 16-20 feet is about 70 degrees down there. After putting them in a 90-95 degree livewell things are gonna happen.

damarshall the directors have nothing to do with the fish being killed. Putting on a tournament they are 100% at fault??
 

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Well as directors, they should also be stewards of the sport and be putting regulations into place to prevent this type of fish kill. I am not saying it is their fault, but as directors, they are responsible for what happens. If it has happened over the course of two straight weeks, then something should be done about it. I dont tournament fish, but i do fish Harris regularly and it disappoints me that these tournaments are killing off one of the best big fish lakes around. Harris is not a huge lake and i hope that these kills do not hurt it.
 

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Last week there was only 1 dead fish that I saw and last night there were a bunch (8 or so). Not all of them were overs. Things should level off once these fish get use to the water temperature.

These fish dying are no worse then I see the idiots putting slot fish in a cooler. I fish Harris 3-4 days per week and I agree with you on these fish dying, but I do not think it is going to hurt the population. The shad kill this winter however is a different story. Things at harris are going to change dramatically in the next two years. The new forage for bass out there is going to be bream, white perch, and crappie.
 

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Lets take it for what it is worth guys, fish mortality is part of the game when it comes to tournament fishing. I agree with you that 8 casualties during last nights tournament is too many but this does not happen every night and with temperatures the way they have been, sometimes it is unavoidable no matter how prepared you are. Harris lake is not a heavily tournament fished lake due to the slot limit and continues to be one of the best lakes year in and year out. I am a marine fisheries major and really do not believe the population of bass in a lake like harris is heavily affected by tournament fishing. These fish will not affect the long term production of this lake. Think more along the lines of polution, weather, forage. I think raising awareness on livewell etiquette is a good idea but lets not blow this out of proportion and point the finger at tournament anglers or tournament directors. Whether you are recreationally fishing and the fish swallows the hook or you are tournament fishing these things are unavoidable.
 

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I will give you my 2 cents..........tournament fishing in the summer is not good for any body of water around here .........the bigger fish are more prone to die than smaller fish..........even if they swim off all is not well in june july and august............
i would rather see someone catch it and throw it on ice than for some bragging rights..........and 12 big fish every week will have an impact on a 3000 acre resovooir............i have nothing against someone eating what they catch and in the summer around here you might as well throw those fish on ice....will it hurt the fishery biomass wise?...no but what about the guys who like to cach big bass.....the future big ones have been removed and it will take longer than a year to replace them.........if you arnt going to point fingers at tournament directors or anglers then who do you point them at????????????...the bass for not being in top shape?....
 
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Well as directors, they should also be stewards of the sport and be putting regulations into place to prevent this type of fish kill. I am not saying it is their fault, but as directors, they are responsible for what happens.
Agreed - it's their job to setup an appropriate system of incentives and standards to make sure this doesn't happen. By allowing dead fish to count just as much as if they were alive, the anglers actually have an incentive to just catch more and bigger fish, and none to spend the extra time and resources to keep the fish alive. If there was a substantial penalty for dead fish - at least half the weight - I guarantee those live wells would be full of well-oxygenated, cooled water, and there wouldn't be nearly as many dead fish.

It's not a good combination - a bunch of very skilled anglers targeting the largest fish they can find week after week, in a shallow hot lake that's getting warmer and holding less oxygen as the water temperature gradually increases. These big fish - the ones that are responsible for the vast majority of spawning - are also the most vulnerable to oxygen deprivation. As they grow larger and larger, their gill surface area can't keep up with the increase in volume, so they're really walking a very fine line. As mack said - even if a big fish swims off, it may already have depleted it's oxygen reserves, and could very well still go belly up a few minutes later.

I can't begrudge anyone for keeping a fish they catch for the table (even if I'd prefer to see the big ones released), but professional anglers with a livewell full of dead fish doesn't sit nearly as well with me - I think there's some additional responsibility there, or at least there should be.

Either way - thanks for sharing the info jabez88, I wouldn't have been aware of this otherwise, and it's a good reminder of how important it is for each of us to be conscientious of the impact we can have - good or bad - on a resource we all value.
 

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I saw a video once taken by scuba divers in a cove at at BASS tourney of released "live" fish...........and the bottom was litterally littered with dead bass..........that never floated up.

What was that catch phrase..................oh........ I remember now........."An Inconvenient Truth"....................

There is a soulution: Don't stroke your ego at the expense of the the public's precious resources.
 
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By allowing dead fish to count just as much as if they were alive, the anglers actually have an incentive to just catch more and bigger fish, and none to spend the extra time and resources to keep the fish alive. If there was a substantial penalty for dead fish - at least half the weight - I guarantee those live wells would be full of well-oxygenated, cooled water, and there wouldn't be nearly as many dead fish.
Spot on...excellent points, and I agree.
 

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Id like to see beter education in how to prep and maintain a live well. I wonder how many fill it then drop fish in then add icejugs, too little to late. Water needs to be chilled and ready before the fish go in and proper additives no matter the expense are a must. I agree, no live release, no points/lbs... In the cat tourneys Ive done a dead fish is a lost fish, period. Are the tourney directors keeping aerated tanks for these fish to wait in in their bags? Are those cooled/aerated as well? Or are guys running up with their catch in bags trying to weigh them in as quickly as a line allows? I dont know how lower level tourneys are done for bass so excuse my ignorance if Im way off base here..
 

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As mentioned, with the right preparation you can keep these fish from dying. I believe you could hold a tournament in July when the temp is 100 and have zero fish die if everyone follows the right protocol regarding fish handling and livewell prep.
 

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I wouldnt point the finger at the directors of the Wednesday night tounrys, I know one of them pretty well and he cares as much or more about Harris lake and its fish than anyone. I agree with what Stratos294 says. Stressed fish being pulled from deep water and put into warmer livewells isnt a good combination.
 

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I think when people start with "absolutes" like BAN tournaments etc they dont realize how that will ecalate and come back to bite them in the butt later on some other outdoor issue. Im all for finding reasonable compromise before making such harsh demands. Create a system and utilize it, and make that system a rule.. Also make the penalties stiff enough that those who break that rule suffer enough not to do so again. How many cookies will a kid sneak over and over if he knows all he's gonna get is yelled at?? Many adults are no different...
 
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Look at what Kerr does with Striped bass in the summer. First two you catch you take, no more fishing. (at least that's what it's supposed to be) And as was pointed out, if you think all those fish that swim off make, your just not paying attention. I see nothing wrong with banning tourneys in the summer, or anytime the surface temps get above a set amount. It wont happen though, cause someone is making money.
 

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well guys i read and well i dont agree with anything... the fish is just as much yours as it is anybody else's who pays taxes.... now with that said i will say this if some of you want to ban fishing in the summer months then i would be all for it if you ban fishing in the fall or spring or in the winter months as well... see what most of you think is about YOUR OWN PERSONAL AGENDA. now if you take into account for the other 999% of everyone else and stop thinking about yourself then you might see things differently. hey carpe something you said about buggs is totally wrong....the rules change for the summer months to keeping 4 fish anysize.... lets make sure that when you quote a law that it is correct and not try to steer someone in the wrong direction... the law does not say anything about keeping your first 4 fish and then go home...... so now dont get me started on the true law which is what i quoted above... this law is in place and i can follow it just like anybody else... the problem is when someone tries to make the law say something that it doesn't.. but guys just remember that you dont own a resource it is all of ours to use.. so when you come on here and talk about how they should shut down fishing... but only in the summer months well that is just BS. maybe that is the only time someone has to fish and you would shut them off from a fishery... so i pose this to you guys... if you want to have a fishery like that then go out and spend a couple million to build a lake and then spend a couple more million to stock it.. then spend a couple more million to keep up the lake and then you can control how it is fished... but the one thing i would say is that money should come out of your pocket and not the states... so think about that when you come on here and start a rant about fishing in the summer months...
 

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I am going to close this one. Many interesting points...too much chance for it to get out of hand. I don't think anyone wants to unnecessarily kill fish regardless of type of fish or time of year. Thanks all...
 
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