TPWD Encourages Anglers to Report Blotchy Bass Syndrome

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AUSTIN – Anglers across the nation are asked to report signs of Blotchy Bass Syndrome (BBS) to support research being conducted by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and West Virginia University (WVU).

Bass Pro Shops is partnering with WVU and USGS to incentivize angler participation through the donation of gift cards for weekly drawings, including $3,000 in gift cards specifically for Texas anglers.

Anglers are encouraged to report signs of BBS to the MyCatch app. To be eligible for the Texas-specific prizes provided by Bass Pro Shops, anglers who suspect that their fish has symptoms of BBS must submit photos, name of the waterbody where it was caught, and the date of the catch to Cynthia Fox-Holt (Cynthia.fox@tpwd.texas.gov).

Photos will be accepted through 11:59 p.m. Central Time on Dec. 31, and prize drawings will occur over the course of three weeks in January (Jan. 9 -13, 16-20, 23-27). Each fish an angler enters is one entry for the drawings so individual anglers who submit more than one fish are eligible for multiple prizes.

After scientists joined forces to study the distribution and prevalence of BBS, they found evidence that it is associated with a virus.

BBS produces black ink-like spots on the skin of freshwater bass species and has been documented in 18 states, including Texas. Even though BBS is associated with a virus, the fish generally appear to be in great condition and are actively feeding. The viruses that cause BBS have never been identified in humans or domestic pets and fish are safe to eat when properly cooked.

For more information about this study and BBS, contact TPWD biologist Cynthia Fox-Holt through email at Cynthia.fox@tpwd.texas.gov.