Each year, local clubs and regional and national organizations host dozens of bass fishing tournaments on waters throughout Oregon. These range from small or club events (fewer than 25 boats or 50 anglers) to large or open tournaments with more than 24 boats or 49 anglers participating). To host a tournament, you'll need to contact the local ODFW fish biologist and Oregon State Police or receive a permit from the statewide ODFW warmwater fisheries program, depending on the size of the event.
Although participants follow established conservation practices, competitions can place significant pressure on a local fishery, particularly those in lakes and reservoirs that support multiple events each year. ODFW has established tournament requirements to ensure the bass populations can meet this demand while still providing quality recreational opportunities for other anglers.
What is a bass fishing tournament?
A black bass or bass fishing tournament or "contest" is defined as a competition in which prizes are offered for the amount, quality, size, weight or other physical characteristic of the fish caught, and where the total value of all cash or merchandise awards exceed $25.
The general requirements for a bass tournament include:
- Contestants must use aerated live wells or other equipment so that all reasonable efforts are made to keep fish alive and healthy.
- After weighing, all fish that are caught in healthy condition must be immediately released in the water where they were caught. On occasion, ODFW may ask organizers to retain healthy fish to be restocked under the direction of the department at other locations.
- Contestants may use only artificial flies and lures, and imitation baits.
Click here to download a pdf with more information about hosting a tournament, and to learn how to submit an application.
Bass and walleye angling tournaments have long been popular in Oregon. However, events that target other game fish including salmon, trout, crappie and catfish are also held. It is important to note the requirements and permitting process for these are different than those for bass and walleye.
For other game fish, a permit issued by ODFW is required if a single prize exceeding $1,000 is offered for the fish taken. A fishing tournament permit is $121.50
The permit may also limit the number of participants or place other conditions on how the event is held recognizing there could be fishery, social or other concerns.
The requirements include:
- Sponsors must apply for permits at least 60 days prior to the event.
- No more than one event can be held on any waterbody on any single date, and no more than two tournaments can be held on a single waterbody in any 14-day period.
- All current angling regulations will apply. However, special permit conditions such as reduced bag limits may be added to protect the fishery.
- Catch-and-release is permitted provided fish are released unharmed.
- Sponsors are responsible for identifying non-profit outlets for any unwanted fish that result from the tournament.
- Sponsors are responsible for meeting all other state and local requirements for marine event or other special use permits.
Click here to submit an application for a General Game Fish Tournament Permit.
Marine events (regattas, boat races, marine parades, floats, fishing tournaments or exhibitions) must be permitted in Oregon if they introduce extra or unusual water safety hazards on an Oregon waterbody. A Marine Board application for a permit must be submitted at least 30 days prior to the event. For more information.