Ice… but the right kind

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I want to stress here from the onset that I’m not a big fan of just dumping straight ice into a livewell. I think we can certainly over do it here and I’ve seen several anglers add ice to the point that it’s detrimental and, in my opinion, has killed fish that wouldn’t have died otherwise. Dumping two bags of ice into each livewell on top of fish can change the water temp 10 or 15 degrees in a matter of seconds and this can be too much for an already struggling bass to cope with. Not to mention the effects of that much chlorine being added to the water.

The best way to do it, again in my opinion, is to have the water in the condition in which you want it before the fish enters the well. And to try to keep it in that optimal range or adjust it gradually throughout the day. Ideally, you’d like the water temps in the livewell to be the same as the water temps you’re pulling the fish out of. For anyone who has ever jumped into a lake before, you know that when you plunge into that that 7- or 8- foot depth you hit some drastically cooler water. It’s not always possible to have it that cold but any effort to have it fairly close is vital for the fish’s survival.

Using reusable ice packs that don’t release chlorine into the water like regular ice would is one great way to cool the water down without shocking the fish. I also like to take G-Juice and add it to bottled water, then freeze the bottles and add these to the livewell throughout the day. I’ll have 8 or 10 in the ice chest at the start of a particularly hot day and just add one every our or so to melt off like a giant ice cube and gradually release more additive to the water as some sloshes out the overflow.