Free resource available to bass tournament groups to help conserve fish and habitat.

Conserving fish and fish habitat and providing fishing opportunities to anglers are top priorities for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s Fisheries Division, and partnering with anglers goes a long way in making these things happen.

Bass tournament anglers are an important part of the equation, since they typically travel to several lakes and land large numbers of fish during the competitions.  Right now, the Wildlife Department is offering tournament participants a free resource to keep onboard their boats as a reminder of how they can protect fish and their  habitat.

The Oklahoma B.A.S.S. Nation received funding from the Boat U.S. Foundation and partnered with the Wildlife Department to print and distribute a handy information card for anglers. The two-sided, 4″x6″ Tournament Angler Card is made of heavy-duty plastic and can withstand exposure to the elements.

“One side displays quick tips about aquatic nuisance species and how anglers can help prevent their spread,” said Curtis Tackett, aquatic nuisance species biologist for the Wildlife Department.

Aquatic nuisance species are fish, mussels, plants and algae that are not native and have the potential to cause severe economic or environmental damage. Boaters are encouraged to “check, clean, drain and dry” to help stop the spread of nuisance species.

“The other side depicts a ‘Top 10 Tips for Fish Care’ and how to keep bass alive for release following tournament,” Tackett said. “Each card also comes with a lanyard.”

Keeping fish alive is a high priority for tournament anglers, as most tournaments require that fish be alive at the weigh-in and that they be released back into the water.

Wildlife Department fisheries personnel recently helped with the live release of bass back into Grand Lake after the Bassmaster Classic weigh-ins in February. All 548 fish that were caught and weighed during the tournament were safely transported to the weigh-ins by the pro anglers and then back to Grand Lake by ODWC personnel alive and in good condition.

Tournament groups and competitive anglers interested in helping protect fish and their habitat can obtain these cards to hand out at tournaments and meetings.

“Our goal is to distribute these cards to all bass tournament anglers throughout Oklahoma free of charge,” Tackett said. “If you are a member of a bass fishing club or a tournament director, please help us distribute these cards.”

For more information or to obtain cards for a bass fishing group, contact Tackett at (405) 521-4623.

Image courtesy Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation

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