Attention Anglers! Please Release Tagged Bass from Squam Lakes

Fish and Game Studies Bass in Squam Lakes - Angler's Asked to Release Any Radio Tagged Bass 

CONCORD, N.H. -- Anglers fishing the Squam Lakes are being asked to
immediately release any largemouth and smallmouth bass they catch that were
radio tagged as part of a New Hampshire Fish and Game Department study. All
radio tagged bass will have a thin wire protruding from their underside and
a yellow numbered tag near their dorsal fin.

The Squam Lakes (Big and Little Squam) are a popular destination for bass tournament and recreational bass anglers, with an average of 22 bass tournaments being held on Big Squam each year. Although Big and Little Squam are connected by a short channel, they are considered to be separate water bodies.

N.H. Fish and Game Department rules do not allow anglers to catch fish in
one water body and release them into another water body. Because there is
currently no available weigh-in location on Big Squam for larger bass
tournaments, these tournaments typically weigh in on Little Squam. By law,
bass are then required to be taken back to Big Squam for release. During hot
weather conditions, bass survival could be compromised after a weigh-in on
Little Squam, due to the extra time and handling it takes to bring these
bass back to Big Squam for release.
Additionally, boats must travel through the channel a total of four times in
a given day in order to release fish back to Big Squam, providing the
potential for additional boat congestion.

Therefore, allowing bass tournaments fishing on Big Squam and weighing-in on
Little Squam to release bass into Little Squam may, in some cases, increase
bass survival and decrease social conflicts.
However, the potential exists for negative impacts on bass in Little Squam
if bass caught in Big Squam and released into Little Squam do not return to
Big Squam on their own accord.

"If most of these bass do not return to Big Squam, it could lead to
increased competition for food and habitat, and potentially increased
opportunities for bacterial or viral transmissions, such as Largemouth Bass
Virus," said Gabe Gries, Warmwater Fisheries Project Leader for the Inland
Fisheries Division of N.H. Fish and Game. "Additionally, bass must use
energy to find appropriate habitat in their new area and extra usage of
energy reserves may increase the probability of over-winter mortality."

The goal of this radio tagging study is to determine the percentage of bass
returning to Big Squam after being caught in Big Squam and weighed in and
released in Little Squam, and how long it takes fish to do so.

Bass caught in Big Squam during bass tournaments in 2014 and weighed-in on
Little Squam will be tagged and released into Little Squam. A permanent
antenna and receiver in the Squam Channel will record when tagged bass pass
by on their way back to Big Squam. Bass will also be manually tracked via
boat in Little Squam. It is expected that this study will last up to three
years.

It is imperative that anglers immediately release any tagged bass they
catch. Please contact Gabe Gries at 603-352-9669 to report the number on the
yellow tag and location(s) if a tagged fish is accidentally transported or
dies in your possession. Radio tag recovery will be made from any dead fish.

This study is being performed in cooperation with NH B.A.S.S. Nation and the
Squam Lakes Association. Grant money obtained by NH B.A.S.S. Nation was used
to purchase necessary equipment.

Click Here to follow updates on this study, or visit the webstie here: http://www.wildnh.com/Fishing/fisheries_management/bass_Squam_Movement.hml

For more information on the study and/or to report information on tagged
bass, contact Gabe Gries, N.H. Fish and Game Region 4, 15 Ash Brook Court,
Keene, NH 03431; phone 603-352-9669; or email gabe.gries@wildlife.nh.gov.

squam bass study