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Meadowlark and other fish raisers. #13596827 06/16/20 03:46 PM
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Hoping you guys could shed some light on a debate over in bass fishing section on releasing fish.
many of us put ice in our livewells to coolthe water down. Lots of guys cool it down to lower than 70 degrees. Most just put in a few cubes and try to keep it in the low 80s and keep our livewells pumping all day.
Anyway if one takes a mature bass out of 60 degree livewell water and just tosses it back into 90 degree water will it hurt the fish?
I ask this because when I have bought fish to stock in my ponds I am always told to slowly temper them to the warmer water of the pond.

You guys are the experts on this so what say you?

Re: Meadowlark and other fish raisers. [Re: 9094] #13596928 06/16/20 05:22 PM
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How about considering a TPWD fisheries biologist as the expert? I watched an in-depth interview about livewell management, and the topic of temperature was brought up. He gave two basic rules to go by:

1) Do not cool the livewell water more than 30 degrees cooler than the lake surface temperature.
2) Regardless of the 30 degree gap rule, the lowest temperature you should shoot for is 70 degrees absolute.

So, by the rules the fisheries biologist gave, if the lake is 90 degrees, do not cool the livewell below 70 degrees.
He clarified that the 30 degree differential was to manage shock. The curve isn't linear, with no real advantage of going below 70 other than you're just shocking fish worse.
I think he suggested what I did years ago; I bought a floating pool thermometer to keep in my livewell to monitor the need for ice. He recommended frozen water bottles, swapped out as needed. I use 2 liter bottles. Leave the cap on them so you don't melt the ice into the lakewater.

Re: Meadowlark and other fish raisers. [Re: 9094] #13597226 06/16/20 09:07 PM
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We haul 10's of thousands of pounds of bass, shad, tilapia, bluegill, shiners ect each year. Each species handles differently. Moreover, the size (bigger fish handle better) of the fish makes a difference, how crowded you have the tank, the right amount of oxygen, and water temp are the major factors to consider.. So, lots of factors to consider when moving a fish from one environment to another environment. All other factors being equal fish do much better (less stress) in water that is 75 degrees or less. I do not like handling fish once water temps get above 80/85.

But, to answer your specific question about water temperature. Yes, it plays a role. As a general rule we try and maintain a difference of 5 degrees with most fish we sell. We accomplish this by tempering the fish (slowly bring up or down the water temp to match the temp of the environment they are moving to) In the case of moving fish from a colder environment (live well that has had ice to keep it cool and is now 60 or 70 degrees) and moving it to a 90 degree water temp could cause enough stress to cause mortality. The fish may swim away just fine, but later become a floater. While our rule of 5 degrees is conservative, I personally would not cool my live well less than 75 if I was going to release the fish into 90 degree water. As weigh in comes close, I would begin to raise the temp 5 to 10 degrees.


Steve Alexander
salexander@privatewaterfishing.com
www.privatewaterfishing.com

Re: Meadowlark and other fish raisers. [Re: salex] #13597600 06/17/20 02:19 AM
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Thanks for both replies guys. If it’s ok I will put on bass fishing section.
I don’t know how many guys I have heard of saying they cool below 70.
I know I killed a big fish several years just turning it lose from 65 degree water to a 90+ degree lake.

Re: Meadowlark and other fish raisers. [Re: 9094] #13598032 06/17/20 01:30 PM
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"Anyway if one takes a mature bass out of 60 degree livewell water and just tosses it back into 90 degree water will it hurt the fish?"


Yes, its likely, IMO, that a mature bass will die in that circumstance. I haven't done a probability study, but based on experience I'd say the chances are not good for success. As mentioned a lot of factors go into it, not the least of which is how much stress was the fish under during the capture but all thing being equal, 60 deg to 90 deg is just too much of a shock. I wouldn't do it. By the way, the death may not be immediate but delayed hours/days.

Re: Meadowlark and other fish raisers. [Re: 9094] #13600978 06/19/20 04:43 PM
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Great discussion and remember that it works both ways. If you catch a fish and drop it in 60 degree water from 90 degree water it has the same effect.

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