LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) – The Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament came to an end Sunday, which means staff released the caught bass back into the river for the last time.
Tournament rules state anglers need to bring the bass back alive, or get a 4 ounce penalty.
B.A.S.S. National Conservation Director Noreen Clough said the anglers are taught not to exhaust the bass when they bring them into the boats, to protect the fish's slime coat, and have special instructions on how to run the livewells in the boats.
Similar procedures also take place during weigh-ins to make sure the fish stay alive.
"Well, it's our sport and it's our ethic," Clough said. "It only serves to do us well to have a robust fishery to go fishing in. And in the 47 years we've been in business, we know that keeping bass alive is the way to do it."
The live release boats are filled with the water the bass were fished out of and pumped with oxygen.
If a fish does not survive, Clough said the fish is put on ice and given to someone to take home and cook, or donated to a charity.
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