Americana Outdoors E-Magazine - August 2022

THE AMOUNT OF DISSOLVED OXYGEN IN YOUR LIVEWELL AND WEIGH BAG IS A FACTOR IN LARGEMOUTH SURVIVABILITY. Bass and all fish obtain needed oxygen by passing water over their gills. TheMSU study proved that the minimum level of dissolved oxygen in your livewell is 5.5 ppm. It also showed that higher oxygen (8.5 ppm) wasnot aproblemat 77degreesor 84degrees, but these higher dissolved oxygen concentrations were not enough to prevent mortality at 91 degrees where the mortality rate was over 50%. In other words, oxygen is essential, but more oxygen will not make up for too-warm temperatures. Cool water is essential to survival, but cooling water also aids providing sufficient oxygen. Cool water holds more oxygen and reaerates faster than warmer water, and bass in cooler water use less oxygen than bass in warmer water. In addition, more or bigger fish in your livewell use dissolved oxygen faster. More oxygen can be added to your livewell by adding fresh water periodically, but you must remember to add ice to maintain temperatures below 84 degrees. Add air to your live well diffused through an air stone creating small bubbles or run recirculating aerators continuously to maximize the amount of oxygen absorbed in the water.

PRO TIP #2 Fish need oxygen. Maximize aeration and flush the live well with fresh water periodically to ensure you have adequate oxygen levels. THE MSU STUDY CONFIRMED THAT THE AMOUNT OF ANGLING TIME DOES IMPACT SURVIVABILITY. Largemouth bass angled for one minute survived better than did those angled for three minutes. However, if the fish is landed quickly and handled carefully, catch and release has a minimal effect on survival. Bass have a protective slime coating that helps to protect them from disease. It is important to be careful to not remove this coating when handling your fish. Wet your hands when handling the fish. It is also important to not “boat flip” your fish directly onto the rough dry carpet or deck of your boat as that will cause slime loss. Grip the fish’s is lower jaw to remove the hook. Remove the hook as quickly as possible and use caution to not damage the gills. Keep the fish out of water for as short a time as possible.

PRO TIP #3 Land your fish as quickly as possible and keep

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