Relocation and concentration of fish at fishing-tournament release-sites is a concern for many fishery management agencies. I compiled published and unpublished estimates of dispersal distances by black basses (Micropterus spp.) captured and released alive in fishing tournaments. Only 14% of tournament-caught largemouth bass (M. salmoides) and 32% of smallmouth bass (M. dolomieu) returned to their sites of capture. Fifty-one percent of largemouth bass and 26% of smallmouth bass dispersed less than 1.6 km from their release sites. On average, smallmouth bass dispersed a greater distance (7.3 km) from their release sites than did largemouth bass (3.5 km). There was no difference in dispersal distances for fish captured and released in rivers versus those released in lakes and reservoirs. Twenty-two percent of largemouth bass and 15% of smallmouth bass caught and released in fishing tournaments were subsequently recaptured by anglers. Previous studies recommended modifications to tournament release practices. These recommendations generally have been disregarded because of a lack of regulatory or other incentives.
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|Published - Jul 1 2003