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powerfish

smallmouth

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Ok sports fans here's a question thats been plauging me for awhile.  I fish the snake river in OR. not that that matters but,  the river is about 1\4mile wide at it's widest points and up to 100+ feet in depth and the portion of river fished the most is about 35-40 miles long with smallmouth being the dominate fish .  Now...... when we fish tournys say 30 miles from where we weigh in, and release the fish at  100-300 yards from the weigh in point, will those fish travel back to where they were caught? Or part way or just find a new place somewhere close and live there.  And is it the same for largies as smallies?  What kind of range do they have?  Thanks Ray

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I would say no. To my knowledge bass wil occuppy the best and closest cover available and are not known to travel great distances unless they lack a presence of bait in the are to drive them to that length. That is simply my thought on the matter although I may be wrong, seriously doubt it, but maybe.

Peter

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Powerfish.  Interesting question.  Many years ago (maybe in the very early 70's or later) one of the major outdoor magazines, cannot remember which one, had questions along the same line that you do.  They did a test by catching bass 6 to 10 miles or more from a particular marina on one of the very large impoundments.  They tagged these fish, fitted them with radio transmitters, and released them offshore at the marina.  Lo and behold, in two weeks times, most of the fish were back in their old haunts feeding away like they had never left.  Some were in place in just a couple of days.  I believe the story went that just about all fish returned to point of capture.  Now, those were fish of yesteryear with less fishing pressure, etc.; do the present day fish return to point of capture????  Might be a challenge for some member that has radio tracking equipment capabilities and can do a restudy of this.   It's the old, "members want to know"  ha  Hope this has lent some insight into your question.    Bob

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I don't think the largemouth return long distances away.Before this past season started the Wash.Fish@Wildlife try to put a stop on catching LM during tournaments just because of that reason.They said the populations were being hurt do to people not returning the fish to where they caught them.It took a petion and alot of presure to get the state to lift that ban.The waters that were being effected were the Columbia Riv. and Banks Lake.And I know up at CorteLane(I know I spelled it wrong) in Id. chain of lakes they have a law that your to return All LM back to where you caught them.As for myselfI don't beleive SM in the Snake or Columbia are being hurt at all and do find there way back.But if they don't there is so much good water for them it would'nt make a diff. unless your taking them off beds.GB..Jim

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Infisherman did an article on this not too long with smallmouth. They said they would return to the spot (or general area) they were caught at. Smallmouth are "home" oriented fish and they stay in the same basic areas but just change depth, now they will leave these areas too spawn and to feed but usually food will be in that spot, because that's why they are there in the first place. With the different season they will move deeper and shallower but will still stay in the basic area. So if you tend to catch big smallmouth in a certain place in the fall, you will probably find them there in most other season just at a different depth. Now this is not my information but that of infisherman, but I do agree with that article because I have found smallmouth at one spot and it never fails to produce in the summer, after I read this I really worked this spot over in all seasons just at different depths and I found I almost always can pick at least one fish of this spot.

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This is a topic that has been discussed locally here.  There is a particular lake that has been "hot" for local tournaments and the DNR even built a weigh-in pier near the lauch ramp.  Some of the "money" tournaments have made fishing within so many feet of the release area off-limits because the thought was that all the fish would be stacked up there.  However, the "club" tournaments do not have this rule and so a lot of the guys I have fished with have concentrated on this area.  The result has been that while there are few fish in that general area, most tournaments are won in the same areas year after year well away from the release area.  Now were are not talking about 30 miles here, but these are fairly big lakes.  Not scientific by any means but a practical observation that seems to suggest that they head home after being released.

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The question was geared at smallmouth, and I have nothing on that species, but large mouth will go back to home waters. There is a thread on here I posted on Toledo Bend and the Chamber of Commerce on the La side.

They give replicas for 10 lb + fish that are weighed at the Hwy 6 Many La Bridge, could be Tackle Town USA.

The awards (replicas) are given out during the June Big Bass Splash. 2 of these fish were caught twice in the same year during this 4 month period.

Any one familar with T-Bend, its 75 miles long, and the Many bridge is about 37 miles from the dam. Six mile creek is where the first one was caught, she was 11+, 6 miles from the dam, thus six mile creek, she was taken in an weighed and tagged and release at Hwy 6 bridge. She was caught 3 weeks later 1 mile from six mile creek, which is 32 miles, one mile from home and weighed over 12 at that time.

Another one caught approx. 11miles up from dam, weighed and tagged, released and caught 1 month later in the same hole as originally caught or close. This shows that at least big fish have home waters and will travel to get there. 26 miles to get home.

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Lots of good info guys, Thanks.  Most of our tournys are won in the same places also, It's just a matter if your there at the right time.  I would think mabey some of the fish would stay aroud because of the food supply and the type of structure ect.  Most of the river looks the same with suttle changes.  Thanks  Ray  

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Thw Shimano release boat used at many tournys had been involved in a study to check the longevity of fish released after a tournament and they learned much more than they thought.  Fish that were caught over 20 miles away had returned to their home water.  Again, as Matt said, we are talking largemouth, not small.

Bass are certainly territory related.  You'll notice the same fish year after year on the same bed till shes big enough to gain better territory and she disappears and another newbie moves into her old bed.  I would think,as an un-educated opinion, that smallies would do the same but the loop in this question is that we are talking about a river, not a lake or pond.  

Dr. Raul?

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