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How much does a bass travel in a lake?

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I know this may be a sensitive topic, but my question is - How far does a bass travel in a lake?

I get to fish with a friend on Leech lake occasionally for bass.

It seems the fishing is different after there has been a tournament. They most always bring the fish to Walker for the weigh-in and release. Many of those fish are caught many miles away on the lake and it seems to me they don't travel back to where they were caught.


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It'll take them a while but they'll return to where they were caught. A fish will probably only move a mile or two a day, but they seem to have a sense to find their way back to a home range.

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Some largemouth find their way back home and some don't. They simply find suitable habitat and forage close to the release point. Smallies are a different story. They have great homing ability and almost always find their way home.

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Hiya -

I wonder how many fish ever make it back when they're released on Leech - at least when they're released in Walker Bay. Fish are coming from Boy Bay, Sucker Bay, Fed. Dam, Steamboat, Shingobee and who knows where else, and get hauled 20 miles to Walker Bay... Years ago anyhow, you could go catch all kinds of bass under the slips in Cochran's a week or more after a tournament, and they weren't in great shape. It's worse when it's rough out there. Some of the look like they've been scaled after bouncing around in a live well scraping spines on each other. Walker bay is pretty infertile - not much there for bass habitat. I know there was some talk of returning fish to other areas of the lake where they'd more likely survive. I don't know how often that happens or how well it works. The one event I witnessed where they allegedly did that, they let the fish go off Fisher's point in the middle of Walker bay... Not exactly what was intended I don't think.

Superduty's right about smallies - they have a pretty remarkable homing ability. I don't know about LMB - haven't really looked up the research too much but I bet some has been done.


Rob Kimm

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RK, I'm pretty sure I read a short article in In-Fisherman some time in the past year. There was a study done (I think southern res.) on released fish from a tournament. Most of the released fish never made it further than 1 mile from the site. They relocated to the first suitable habitat.

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I can attest to that RK - a few years ago a Bass tourney had their weigh in at a resort on the north end of Portage Bay on Leech. Prior to that bass fishing was at best spotty. The following few years was the best I had ever seen in all my years on Leech in the north end of the lake.

In 2007- another tourney was held with the weigh-in in Walker some 30 miles by water away. Last year there was a noticable decrease in the amount and size of bass caught up in Portage Bay. We normally spend at least a portion of every weekend fishing bass in the Fed. Dam, Portage Bay, and Boy Bay areas.

Now these are just my thoughts - but I don't believe the LM bass travel very far from where they are released.


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