FRANKFORT — Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s Trophy Bass Propagation Program will not be accepting fish until October. Summer’s higher water temperatures place additional stress on bass, decreasing their chances of survival while being held and then transported to a hatchery.
“Waiting until the water cools will ensure that the fish have the best possible chance of making it to the hatchery in good health,” said Jeff Ross, assistant director of fisheries for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
The program started in the spring and seeks trophy-sized largemouth bass from anglers to use as broodfish. Anglers receive a replica mount of their fish in return.
“These fish will be used to produce offspring to be stocked across the state with the hopes of increasing the potential for anglers to catch more trophy fish and maybe even a new state record,” Ross said.
Kentucky received four bass this spring weighing between 8.2 and 9.3 pounds. Three of the fish were caught at Fishpond Lake in Letcher County while the fourth and biggest bass came from Greenbo Lake in Greenup County. All were female fish.
One of the fish spawned successfully at Pfeiffer Hatchery near Frankfort. The other three were received too late in the year to spawn. All four bass will be well fed in a hatchery pond this year and will be ready to spawn next spring. Eventually, the bass that survive the three-or-so years in the rearing ponds will be returned to their original lakes.
Offspring of the bass will be stocked this fall at Greenbo and Fishpond lakes, in addition to other locations to be determined.
To qualify for the program, male bass must weigh at least 6 pounds. Female bass must weigh at least 8 pounds. Anglers who donated their catch this spring include Bobby Webb, Darrick Sexton, Paul Collins and Michael Carter.