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July 29, 2012

Researchers study bass caught in local tourneys

Lake Champlain Institutetags fish from tournaments

PLATTSBURGH — Research on bass activity in Lake Champlain fishing tournaments suggest the fish are moving from their release location more quickly than in past years.

The Lake Champlain Research Institute has continued its efforts to tag smallmouth and largemouth bass, so researchers can study them when they are set free after weigh-in during the series of professional contests held on the lake.

“We completed our final 100 tags (during the recent FLW tournament),” said Dr. Timothy Mihuk of the Research Institute. “We’ve done 3,000 tags in the last 12 months and have gotten a pretty good response thus far.”

The t-bar tags researchers have attached to both species of bass include an ID number, phone number and email address to contact Research Institute scientist Mark Malcoff with information on when and where an angler has caught one of the tagged fish.

“We’ve gotten about a 14 percent response (from those tags),” Malchoff said. 

MOVING MORE

The project also includes tagging a certain number of fish with a surgically implanted transmitter, so researchers can follow the movements of bass on a regular basis. About 70 bass have been tagged with the transmitters.

“Fish have traveled as far north as the Canadian border and as far south as the Ausable River,” Mihuk said. “Some stay around the Plattsburgh area, and some move away. They seem to be moving more this summer, however.”

Both Mihuk and Malchoff said it was difficult to determine why the fish are more on the move this year but noted that the condition of the lake is much different than it was a year ago.

Last year, the lake level was well above normal following the record flooding in the spring, but this year, lake levels are below normal.

“We were just commenting on how the lake’s surface would have been 6 feet higher last year,” Malchoff said.

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