Kentucky Trophy Bass Program

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The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) is looking for trophy-class largemouth bass.

The reason is simple: Big bass produce big bass. KDFWR wants anglers to donate their live trophy bass so the department’s hatcheries can use them to produce new generations of oversized fish. In return, anglers will receive a replica mount of their bass.

“I wanted to figure out how we could do a better job of propagating larger bass in Kentucky,” said department Fisheries Director Ron Brooks. “So this kind of program just makes sense. People have been breeding animals forever to optimize the size of the animal, so why not do this with largemouth bass?”

Anglers for years have lobbied for Kentucky to stock the jumbo-sized Florida strain largemouth bass in the state’s waters. However, Kentucky doesn’t have the same kind of climate as Florida, so that variety of bass would not do as well here.

The best alternative is spawning native fish with proven genetics to grow big. Kentucky’s program will only accept female bass weighing more than 8 pounds, and male bass weighing more than 6 pounds. Fish this size generally exceed 22 inches in length.

Anglers wishing to participate should take their trophy bass to a participating bait shop, where employees will hold fish in aerated bait tanks until a Kentucky Fish and Wildlife employee can pick up the bass and take it to a hatchery.

After the bass spawn, hatcheries will raise young fish until they reach 5 inches long. Then employees will stock the bass in lakes around the state, including the lakes where the parent fish were originally caught.

A list of the participating bait shops and more information about the trophy fish program can be found on the department’s website, Search under the keywords, “Trophy Bass Propagation Program.”
source: Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife