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    Heartland Tournament on Grand Lake

    July 19, 2005

An outside look at the recent Heartland Tournaments that took place this past weekend on Grand Lake out of Martin's Landing. 


Special thanks goes out to everyone who helped make this weekend tournament an overwhelming success. OAU director Dave Roush and advisory members Tony Coatney and Ed Barton were there help conducting water temp and dissolved oxygen surveys on both days. The Heartland tournament staff was top notch and worked extra hard to accommodate the request of the GRDA and the ODWC. 


While everyone has discussed all of the problems that happened with the recent tournaments and their fish kills, I would like to go over the things that the Heartland tournament trail did right this past weekend. 


First, they reduced the number of bags for the weigh in lines. They handed out only 12 bags for the 113 boats. In addition, the tournament hours were shortened to 1 p.m. 


Second, they have their boats check in every 10 minutes instead of 30-minute flights. This makes a HUGE difference because you don't have a bunch of people standing in line waiting for the bags or in the weigh in line either. It also kept the 4 holding tanks to no more than 6-8 people in line. There was no crowding and it allowed the water to maintain the proper oxygen levels. 


Third, all of the holding tanks were iced down to a temperature approximately 8 degrees cooler than the lake. This was monitored several times during the 90-minute weigh in.

Fourth, ALL of the tanks were using multiple aerators and a few were enhanced with oxygen and air stones. 


Fifth, there was a special nurse tank set up for fish that were in poor condition. The two tanks were special built for Bassmedics by Icey-Tek. They were two 150-gallon tanks that each had four 1000 gph recirculating pumps and are fully insulated with lid's to maintain a constant water temperature. The tanks was highly oxygenated and were treated with Rejuvenade. Over the course of the event on Saturday, there were approximately 40 fish being held in the one nurse tank at one time, many of them required their air bladders to be bled, some were just in such poor condition they just needed time to recuperate. Had this tank not been in use, there is no doubt that these fish would have become casualties. Most of the fish in the tank, including the day's big bass, were in the 4+ pound range. Although there were some smaller fish as well. These fish were held until about 3 p.m. and were examined by GRDA and ODWC staff before they were returned to the lake in a much better and healthier condition. 



It should be noted that the Heartland trail is sponsored by Bassmedics and supported with Rejuvenade, the premium livewell additive. Since the sponsorship began in 2004, the Heartland Trail has had an exemplary release rate at all of their events. This one was no exception. Out of the 529 fish caught over two days, only 6 were weighed in dead and only 5 more expired before being released. Even after the release, the GRDA and ODWC have only been able to find less than 12 fish that have floated to the surface. That is still a very impressive 96% ratio in 90 degree water. 


Here are some observations of things that could still be done better by the anglers. 


There were numerous anglers that were still pumping in fresh water at the end of the day. Over the course of the day, the surface lake temp rose around 6 degrees! This is the exact opposite of what you want to do. The point is to cool the water down to reduce the stress level of the fish.

At the weigh in, several anglers were observed pulling surface water for their weigh in bags. NOT GOOD! The water in that area was the hottest water around; it also had the most pollutants due to all of the exhaust from the outboards. ALWAYS pull water from you livewells. This will at least keep the fish in quality water until you reach the weigh in tanks. 


On a side note, the oxygen generator by aqua innovations is an excellent product. There were 3 that were used to supplement the holding tanks to help maintain the proper dissolved oxygen levels. The down side is that you CANNOT use salt with them. If the wrong amount of salt is added it will produce a toxic level of chloride and can kill the fish. Rejuvenade is the ONLY product that will work with the aqua innovations system. The cost for their system is minimal, less than $200.00, when you consider the negative exposure and the loss of resource that we have just experienced. Rejuvenade is designed to remove any damaging amounts of chlorine or chloramine from tap water or ice also. Many people refer to this product as a livewell chemical, but it is not. It is the only product on the market that is composed of animal and human food grade supplements.  


If you have any thoughts or comments on this, please forward any ideas or suggestions on fish care to dbriggs@threeriversone.com<.  


Thanks for reading this and remember to “Take care of your Catch!” 


Doss Briggs

Three Rivers One Outdoors. 

1004 horn street • muskogee, ok • 74403

Phone & Fax: 918.683.3716

cell 918.680.0813







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