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Local News

September 2, 2009

Dead fish raising concerns

PLATTSBURGH — Tom Conley headed out early one morning last week for a walk along the shore near his Cumberland Head home.

What he found there both shocked and angered the longtime lakefront resident.

“I counted 91 bass washed up on shore between Rocky Point Beach and the State Park beach,” Conley said of the discovery. “They were all fresh kills, and they were all trophy-sized bass.”

Conley collected 32 bass from Rocky Point Beach when he initially discovered the kill.

“The city came and picked them up, and I thought that would be all there was to it. But the next morning, I decided to walk a little farther and found a lot more both north and south of the beach.”

Conley fears those fish are a result of a recent bass tournament hosted by the City of Plattsburgh for the ESPN Bassmaster series.



CONSERVATION CRUCIAL

Bassmaster spokesman Doug Grassian said tourney organizers are looking into the issue to determine what might have happened.

“We have a huge commitment to conservation,” he said, noting that Bassmaster introduced the catch-and-release process to competitive bass fishing in 1972.

“It’s a huge priority to us. Without bass, there would be no sport and no industry.”

Professional anglers catch both smallmouth and largemouth bass throughout the lake and then weigh them in for results at Plattsburgh Boat Basin near the Naked Turtle.

The fish are then released back into the lake off the northern tip of Crab Island.



BEATING

“I think the battering they take in those boats is too much for the fish,” Conley said. “They’re driving 90 miles an hour to race from one place to another. They’re taking an awful beating.”

He also fears the change in water temperature from lake to boat to holding tanks is detrimental to the fish.

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