KY Trophy Bass Program opens for 2017 Season

Department seeks angler donations to build a better bass fishery


FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 3, 2017) — When Murray resident Austin Gruner caught an 8.2-ounce largemouth bass bulging with developing eggs from Kentucky Lake on Feb. 10, he didn’t keep it.

 Instead, Gruner took his trophy to Fisherman’s Headquarters in Benton, where employees held it for pick up by a Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources hatchery truck.

 “Austin’s fish is the first donation we’ve received this year for the department’s Trophy Bass Propagation Program,” said Jeff Ross, assistant director of fisheries for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “We’re seeking additional donations of big bass caught in other lakes so we can increase the potential for oversized largemouths in Kentucky’s waters.”

 Trophy bass donated to the program go to Pfeiffer Fish Hatchery near Frankfort for spawning. The department stocks the trophy offspring to the original lake and select other lakes in fall.

 Anglers really don’t lose their trophy. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife gives participants professionally mounted, fiberglass reproductions of their fish in return for the donation. Photos of the four bass donated in 2016 – the inaugural season of the program – are viewable online at by searching under the keywords, “Trophy Bass Propagation Program.”

In spring, Kentucky’s program only accepts female bass weighing more than 8 pounds, and male bass weighing more than 6 pounds. Fish this size generally exceed 22 inches in length. In fall, the department accepts fish of any gender weighing more than 7 pounds.The seasonal program shuts down for the summer on May 31, because the higher temperatures are stressful to the fish and reduce the chances of survival.

 Anglers should take their trophy bass to a participating bait shop as soon as possible, rather than leaving the fish in a livewell or stringer for an extended period of time. Bait shop employees will hold the fish in aerated bait tanks until a Kentucky Fish and Wildlife employee can pick up the bass and take it to a hatchery. 

 Look for more information about the trophy bass program, fish handling tips and a list participating bait shops on the department’s website,

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KBF College Team Division





KBF College Teams

The KBF has developed this division to provide an avenue for College Teams to advance to the KBF State Championship and the TBF Semi Finals


*  College Team Members will join a new Statewide College Club and will pay $50 dues per person.

*  Standard KBF rules will apply except that this will be a Team format.

*  Teams are eligible to fish at any of the 24 divisional tournaments.

*There will be no entry fee and Teams will be fishing against other College Teams.

*  Teams that fish at any 2 divisional tournaments will be invited to the KBF State Championship and will be fishing against other College Teams.

*  There will be no entry fees to participate in these events.

*  The KBF will send the winning College Team to the TBF Semi-Finals against Tennessee and the KBF will pay the $200 Boater and $100 Co-Angler entry fee.

*The Second place Team at the KBF State Championship will be invited to the TBF Semi-Finals but will be responsible for their entry fee.

*At the Semi Finals each Team member will fish as Boater and Co-Angler separately and will be paired with a random TBF member.

*  If the Boater is the overall winner at the Semi-Finals they will have their boat wrapped (Donated   by Signs Now).

*  College Teams may enter the existing optional big fish side pot.

*  College Team members may enter the Adult division simply by paying the corresponding Adult entry fee and follow the Adult division rules.


If you have any questions regarding the above do not hesitate to call one of the Division Directors or Steven Taylor direct at 502-314-8011.

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Fishing License Expemption for Guests on Private Pond

Fishing License Exemption for Guests of Owners of Private Ponds

A request has been made by Addia Wuchner (R-Florence) and Marie Racer (R-McKee) to amend the statute requiring licenses to fish private ponds by all but the land owner, his family and Tennant’s. The proposal would allow guests to also fish without a license. It is seen as a support of private land owner’s rights.

BR 257 now is in the TOURISM AND RECREATION COMMITTEE of the legislature. The committee is chaired by Tommy Turner (R- Somerset).

11% of the current license sales is to anglers that only fish private ponds. Revenues will drop by about $1.1 million. To maintain the current fisheries program would require a 67% increase in license cost to those still purchasing license. In Kentucky, anglers and hunters pay the full price of operating the programs with no funds from taxes or general funds.

Though currently proposed to only exemption fishing, it could easily mushroom into hunting which would tank the entire Fish and Wildlife department.

Please contact your legislators. You can find your legislators and their contact information at

Attached are the introduction by the sponsors, talking points, and the actual proposed revision to the statute.    Click here

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KBF Annual Board Meeting & Membership Meeting

Ladies & Gentleman,

 The KBF Annual Board Meeting will be on January 28th, 2017.
Hilton Garden Inn Louisville Airport
Louisville, KY 40209

 Time for the board meeting 10:00 am – 12:30 pm / Louisville Time

Open membership meeting 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm / Louisville Time

 They have a breakfast buffet in their dining area that starts at 6:30 am – 11:00 am.

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