A live-release boat was completed by the AG&FC for Lake Ouachita to assist Black Bass tournaments in live-release and re-distribution.

Continued efforts by the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission at Black Bass conservation, the AG&FC Black Bass Program recently completed construction of a live-release boat that can be used by Black Bass tournament directors to re-locate their catch on Lake Ouachita.

The primary purpose of the boat is to help recover and re-distribute tournament caught bass to different locations around the lake after a weigh-in. Scientific studies have shown that bass may remain in the general vicinity of weigh-in sites for days, weeks or even months after release. A stockpiling of bass at weigh-in sites could then lead to increased angler harvest and catch rates from non-tournament anglers, increased competition for food and habitat, and increased opportunities for bacterial or viral transmissions such as Largemouth Bass Virus. The boat is a 29ft. triple pontoon equipped with a 200hp Mercury motor. Mounted in the boat is a three compartment bottom-dump tank that holds approximately 650 gallons of water, which means that it can safely hold up to 650 pounds of fish. The tanks are individually plumbed for filling and also contain individual diffusers, which provide oxygen from a compressed oxygen cylinder.

AGFC Live release boat Lake Ouachita
 Colton Dennis for more information.

Money to purchase and equip the boat were provided by a $10K grant from the FishAmerica Foundation.
The AG&FC Black Bass Program matched the grant money.

Bill Barnes, operator of Mountain Harbor Resort and Marina on Lake Ouachita, donated a covered slip at the marina to house the live-release boat. Tournament directors will be able to access the boat beginning this Spring after a review of operational guidelines.

The AG&FC Black Bass Program used the live-release boat at two tournaments on Lake Ouachita this Fall to test the systems and determine how the boat handles under a full load. The boat operated flawlessly during the two-day USA Outdoors Big Bass and FLW Outdoors BFL Regional tournament events in October.




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Lake Ouachita Black Bass Tournament Live release distribution boat.