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The Care and Maintenance of Crappie in the Livewell

by

Lane and Tony Gergely


The Livewell
Most boat livewells are not adequate for maintaining limits of crappie. Deficiencies include lack of insulation, inadequate size, lack of necessary monitoring equipment, such as temperature, and dissolved oxygen probes. There have been advances in electronic monitoring equipment. Some companies now offer optional temperature probes that can be used to determine water temperatures at depths up to 25 feet. Electronic GPS systems have optional temperature probes for the livewell. Insulated coolers make excellent livewells for maintaining limits of crappie.

Livewell Temperatures
Water temperatures are directly related to the amount of dissolved oxygen that is available to your fish. Warmer water holds less oxygen. The optimum livewell temperatures are between 64 to 74 degrees during the months when water temperatures rise. Livewell temperatures should never exceed 78 F. Crushed ice can be added to the livewell to quickly lowerwater temperatures, while frozen jugs or bottles can be used to maintain proper livewell temperatures during the hot summer months. It is important to use either a temperature probe or thermometer to monitor livewell temperatures.

Oxygen
Oxygen is vital to all life, and crappie are no exception. Crappie will start to stress if dissolved oxygen levels fall below 5ml/L. Fish Flo 2 and KeepAlive make supplemental oxygen units that will maintain proper dissolved oxygen levels. We recommend dissolved oxygen levels between  6ml/L and 10ml/L. Some supplemental oxygen manufacturers use electrolysis to generate oxygen, but we do not recommend these units due to fluctuations in output. These systems cannot be used with various necessary electrolytes. The best system that we have found is Fish Flo 2 because they use high quality non-corrosive components and ceramic diffusers.

Another method for increasing dissolved oxygen levels is the use of 3% hydrogen peroxide. We recommend safe dosage rates of 3oz per 10 gallons of water, or 6oz per 20 gallons of water. Do not overuse the 3% hydrogen peroxide, more is not better and can damage the gills and slime coat if overused. 3% Hydrogen peroxide is a valuable and economical tool for keeping all fish alive, and can be used with supplemental oxygen.

Livewell Treatments
Studies have proven that stress, resulting in the biochemical release of catecholamines and cortisols (stress hormones) can drastically increase mortality in most species of fish. When these stress hormones remain elevated the immune system of the fish will shut down, making the fish vulnerable to opportunistic pathogens and disease.       Here at Sure-Life Laboratories, we currently manufacture two livewell formulas, Please Release Me, and the new Catch And Release. Both products provide necessary electrolytes, improve oxygen uptake in the blood, remove chlorine and heavy metals, reduce fungal and bacterial infections, maintain healthy slime coat, and calm the fish. The new product, Catch And Release is the most advanced of the two products. Catch And Release not only stops the release of stress hormones, but actually lowers the levels of these stress hormones in the fish. Catch And Release also improves the immune response of the fish by activating white blood cell production in the mucus or slime coat. The anesthetic used in Catch And Release is all natural and is safe for humans and fish. Catch And Release or Please Release Me should be used throughout the year when fish are going to be released.  Both Please Release Me and Catch And Release are available from Bass Pro Shops.
The above methods and products have been scientifically proven to conserve the resource, and promote the healthy release of fish for future generations to enjoy! Please visit us on the web at: www.sure-life.com . We are proud sponsors of CrappieMasters!

 
KMS-Inc