Toyota Sharelunker Program

Procedures for Caring for Lunkers at Holding Stations

For Official Weigh and Holding Stations, following these procedures will significantly reduce stress and injury to lunkers and will increase the likelihood of survival of these important fish.

Tank

  • Minimum 200 gallons
  • Secure top, heavy fabric or coated wire
  • Artificial grass ring structure inside tank such as TFFC uses in the Lunker Bunker (TPWD can supply)
  • Good air supply with a large air stone (small bubbles aerate better than large bubbles)
  • Salt: use unionized stock salt at 0.3% = 2.5 lb. per 100 gallons
  • Suggest an acrylic window for hands-off viewing
  • Shade cloth over top, no direct lights
  • Keep out of the sun to prevent heating of water
  • Fill with lake water if possible. If not possible, use a good de-chlorinator to remove chlorine and chloramines from city water (do not use a product that removes only chlorine). Use an aquarium chlorine test kit to make sure these chemicals have been removed.

Tempering Water

Before moving lunker to the holding tank, temper the water that the lunker is transported in by slowly adding tank water to transport box until the temperature feels about the same. Then carefully move lunker into the holding tank.

Handling

  • Use wet hands to prevent the loss of the fish's slime coat.
  • Use a heavy-duty lunker bag for moving fish, no nets.
  • If a net must be used, a soft, non-knotted or rubber net is best.

Scales

  • Must be certified
  • Use a large basket to hold fish securely while weighing.
  • Basket should be free of rough edges that may damage the fish's skin.
  • Coating the inside of the basket with a product for protecting the slime coat is a good idea.

Treating Hyperbuoyancy

Observe fish for signs of an over-inflated air bladder (hyperbuoyancy). If fish is floating on the surface, is upside down or cannot maintain a position near the bottom of the tank, it may have hyperbuoyancy. A person trained in treating this condition should remove a portion of the air by side fizzing until the fish becomes neutrally buoyant.

Securing the Fish

  • Once in the tank, the fish should be left as undisturbed as possible. Leave the lid and shade cloth in place.
  • Do not handle the fish or remove it from the tank for taking photographs or for any other reason.

 

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