Fly Fishers International > Conservation > Projects & Programs > Basscatch
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Basscatch Project
Are You Up For The Challenge?

CONSERVATION

Are bass on the fly one of your favorite fish to chase?  Do you love the take of a big bass slurping your deer hair bug? Are you fascinated by the many subspecies of bass a fly fisher can find where ever they fish?  If the answer to any of these questions is yes,  Basscatch is for you!

Basscatch Project Recognizes Species Diversity

 

Black Bass

The Basscatch Project is part of an effort by FFI to express the value of species diversity in fisheries and the importance of conserving their individual habitats. The project is designed to help fly fishers appreciate native species diversity and conservation in general and, in this particular case, value the many species of black bass and to understand the sometimes unique differences in their habitat preferences.  Presently, 12 species of the genus Micropterus exist in some portion of their historic native range. Learning to value these bass in their native range helps ensure a healthy and lasting fishery.

The Basscatch Project is intended to aid in the conservation of black bass by encouraging fly fishers to collect memories of the different black bass they catch and released. Those FFI members who successfully catch four species of bass will receive an FFI hat and certificate in recognition of their accomplishment.

Fly Fishers catching and documenting 4 additional, different species of bass (not subspecies from a previous species) can receive a second Basscatch award. Fly Fishers catching and documenting all twelve listed bass species will be eligible for the All Basscatch award.

Background

Black bass (Micropterus sp.) are perhaps one of the more commonly pursued fish by warmwater fly fishers, but what is not well known is that there are at least 12 existing species (plus subspecies) of black bass. The largemouth black bass (Micropterus salmoides) is the best-known species of the genus. It is widely distributed throughout natural warmwaters of North and Central America, but the species also has adapted well to the many man-made reservoirs and bodies of warm water. However, most of the other representatives of Micropterus are generally are not widely distributed. They are much more dependent upon healthy natural systems for their survival and many have evolved with adaptations and habitat requirements that are unique to the Warmwater systems in which they exist. 

Their adaptations to unique wetland niches also make these specialized species of black bass especially vulnerable to over harvest in some cases and man-caused alterations of their environments. Streamside development, pollution from urban and industrial runoffs and future impoundments all are threats to these species and their habitats. The same factors also have strong possibility to compromise our enjoyment of fly fishing for these black bass. The most important first step towards protection of these unique native resources is to be aware and understand them. 

Basscatch Mission

1.       To enhance fly fisher knowledge of native black bass, their habitats and conservation needs.

2.       To secure and improve the recreational opportunities and enjoyment associated with these warmwater species for future generations. 

Basscatch encourages FFI members and other fly fishers to learn more about all native black bass species and subspecies by visiting the waters they inhabit and fishing for them. At least one is threatened in parts of the original range and waters are closed to fishing.

Twelve of the more specialized species of black bass and their native warmwaters have been selected for focus. Any fly fisher may participate by catching and releasing four of the selected species to qualify as an awarded Basscatch Member. Each applicant that meets all qualifications for recognition shall receive a certificate that is suitable for framing and an FFI cap.

A second Basscatch award can be received by catching and documenting 4 additional, different bass species. Fly Fishers catching and documenting all 12 species will be eligible for the All Basscatch award.

The eligible Basscatch species are:

  • Micropterus cahabae (Cahaba bass)
  • Micropterus cataractae (Shoal bass; Altamaha bass)
  • Micropterus chattahoochae (Shoal bass)
  • Micropterus coosae (Redeye bass)
  • Micropterus dolomieu (Smallmouth bass)
  • Micropterus salmoides (Largemouth bass)
  • Micropterus henshalli (Alabama bass)
  • Micropterus notius (Suwannee bass)
  • Micropterus punctulatus (Spotted bass)
  • Micropterus tallapoosae (Tallapoosa bass)
  • Micropterus treculii (Guadalupe bass)
  • Micropterus warriorensis (Warrior bass)

 

Requirements

  1. Qualifying black bass must be caught legally and in accordance with all state, local and other applicable laws.
     
  2. All specimens must be caught and released within the waters that are specified for each respective species in the document entitled Black Bass Native Ranges.
     
  3. All fish must be caught using barbless (or crimped barb), single-hook flies and fly fishing tackle.
     
  4. PROPER HANDLING OF FISH IS A MUST.  Each qualifying fish must be photographed with minimal stress; i.e., raised above the water by wet hand or soft net, photographed and then released unharmed. Do not photograph fish lying on the bank. 

     

     
  5. The award application must include the following information for each subspecies caught.
     
  • Bass species name
     
  • Location: state, county, stream
     
  • Date
     
  • Approximate length
     
  • Fly used
     
  • Name and address of your local newspaper
     
  • Signed statement that the above rules were followed

How to Apply

FFI members and other fly fishers may apply for an award as an Basscatch Member by documenting the catch and release of any four of the twelve selected black bass species. A Basscatch Log Form must be filled out for each of the four species and submitted with one signed copy of the Basscatch Fly Fisher Certification. A Basscatch Log Form along with a photograph for each species caught and released for confirmation, and $8 (to cover the cost of materials and processing) should be mailed to: 

Fly Fishers International
Conservation Coordinator
1201 US Highway 10 West, Suite E
Livingston, MT 59047

Awarded Basscatch Members will be listed in the The Flyfisher, along with a press release sent to the recipient’s hometown newspaper. For more information contact the FFI Conservation Coordinator at operations@flyfishersinternational.org or 406-222-9369.

Forms

Basscatch Fly Fisher Certification

Basscatch Project Log (one log per fish to be submitted)

 

Photo credits:  Max Birnkammer, Tom Logan, Bryan Huskey @ FishBite Media