Elevated water temperature has been shown to influence mortality during fishing tournaments. However, data on water conditions in live wells are lacking, and the benefits of managing live-well temperature are equivocal. The objective of the current study was to define water temperature in a live well during live-release black bass Micropterus spp. angling tournaments, and to compare live-well temperatures with ambient temperatures in the surrounding lake. For this, thermal loggers were added to live wells during three different tournaments (17 live wells across three tournaments), and anglers fished in the tournament using automatic live-well recirculating pumps (recirculation and aeration occurs and freshwater is pumped in). Live wells were found to be significantly cooler (˜1°C) than the epilimnion for two of the three tournaments examined, and 1°C warmer than the epilimnion in the other tournament examined. Based on these findings, fish held in live wells during black bass tournaments do not appear to be experiencing significant thermal differentials relative to ambient water in the lake from which they were caught during live-well confinement. Rather than targeting live wells to mitigate thermal stressors, tournament anglers and organizers should consider other measures to reduce thermal stressors for fish.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law