EKYTT hosts fishing tournament, scientific study at Paintsville Lake

54 anglers attended the EKYTT fishing tournament at Paintsville Lake on Saturday.
54 anglers attended the EKYTT fishing tournament at Paintsville Lake on Saturday.(WYMT)
Published: Apr. 2, 2022 at 8:50 PM EDT
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JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - The East Kentucky Tournament Trail (EKYTT) hosted a fishing tournament at Paintsville Lake on Saturday. 54 anglers came to the tournament and, although the goal was to catch a trophy bass, it was also a scientific study for the betterment of the region.

EKYTT hosts tournaments in several regions including Eastern Kentucky and provides a platform for the region’s fishermen to show what they can do.

“We fish East Tennessee, East Kentucky, Central Kentucky,” said EKYTT Boardmember Jason Kinner. “It’s really grown and you’ve got some great competitors. In my opinion, it’s as competitive a trail as you’ll find.”

Today’s tournament was also a scientific study on Paintsville Lake’s bass population’s DNA. The study was conducted by swabbing the mouths of any caught fish in an effort to prove that hybridization has occurred. Specifically, crossbreeding between the Northern Largemouth Bass and the Florida Largemouth Bass.

These hybrid bass, called F1s, are faster growing and more aggressive than typical Northern Largemouth Bass found in most lakes in Appalachia.

“It grows two to two and a half pounds a year, so you’re looking at a five-pound bass in two years, which is pretty cool. I think every kid’s dream is to hook a five-pound bass,” said Rob McCann, an AP Environmental Science teacher from Harrison County High School, who came to help out with the study.

Kinner and McCann believe, based on Fish and Wildlife research in 1988-91 and 2003-04, that Florida Largemouth Bass DNA is already present in Paintsville Lake. This means that the F1 hybrid species will not be a new introduction to the region, but stocking the lake would strengthen the existing hybrid DNA.

“We already believe that there is a percentage of Florida genetics here,” said Kinner “We hope this study helps prove that and give us a baseline to get to our goal of 50%-50% hybrids.”

Kinner and McCann also say stocking the lake with these F1 hybrids would also improve fishing, tourism, and economic impact in the region. Along with those impacts are various environmental benefits including a new food source for birds such as the bald eagle and blue heron as well as pest control for the overpopulated gizzard shad.

“Now you’re getting a predator in this F1 series bass that’s going to put that gizzard shad population in check, and so you’re going to have those nuisance situations that you can control,” said McCann.

Kinner said he would also like to thank all the anglers who came out to the fishing tournament and helped with the study.

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