New bass fishing tournament system implemented at La Cygne Reservoir event

Beginning in 2007, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) has implemented a new method for conducting bass fishing tournaments. A new "Bass Pass" ($12.15) allows participants in registered bass tournaments held between Sept. 1 and June 15 to keep two fish -- to be released after tournament weigh-in -- that meet the statewide minimum length limit but are under a special length limit for that fishing location.

The regulation also allows an angler in a registered tournament to cull his or her catch after reaching the daily creel limit by releasing a small fish and replacing it with a larger one.

The first such event was held March 10 at La Cygne Reservoir, in eastern Kansas.

"The first Bass Pass Event at LaCygne was a total success," said event organizer Eric Stong, president of the Kansas Bassmasters Chapter. "We had 16 boats, and the winners had three fish longer than 18 inches and two in the 15- to 18-inch range. They had more than 16 pounds of fish, which is great."

According to Stong, because anglers didn't have to travel out of state -- where length limits are generally shorter -- the 16 boats saved, on average, more than $300 each, and the anglers were home on Saturday night.

These tournaments may be held from Sept. 1 through June 15 only. Individuals or organizations planning to conduct a registered and permitted bass fishing tournament that allows participants to use a Bass Pass must apply on a KDWP form, available at most department offices. Forms are also available online at the department's website.

The application process requires organizers to provide tournament scheduling and location information, a copy of written permission from the facility manager authorizing the tournament, and a description of equipment and procedures planned for weigh-in and release of tournament-caught fish.

The application also describes minimum requirements for weigh-in and fish handling by tournament participants. Boats used by tournament anglers must be equipped with working livewells that contain an electrolyte chemical-water solution. In addition, tournament participants must provide the tournament organizer with data on each participant’s catch, and the organizer must provide all catch data to the department within 30 days of the tournament's conclusion.