Help The United States Geological Survey Track Blotchy Bass

Report Blotchy bass using the MyCatch app and possibly win a $100 gift card.

The 2023 – 2024 Blotchy Bass Bonanza is an online citizen science project run through Angler’s Atlas website and their mobile app MyCatch. This is open to anyone and is free to enter. Rules and links are below to submit your phots to the app just download it and follow the instructions.

The Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass Blotchiness Virus (SMBV and LMBV) are viral diseases that affect two of the most popular game fish species in North America. The viruses belong to the family Iridoviridae and are highly infectious, spreading through direct contact between infected and healthy fish or through contaminated water. SMBV was first discovered in the mid-1990s in smallmouth bass in the Great Lakes region, while LMBV was discovered a few years later in largemouth bass in the southeastern United States.

The symptoms of SMBV and LMBV are similar and include the development of dark, irregular-shaped blotches on the skin, as well as internal organ damage. The blotches are usually found on the fins, face, and body of infected fish and can vary in size and intensity. Affected fish may also become lethargic and lose their appetite, leading to weight loss and reduced growth rates. The severity of the disease can vary, and some infected fish may recover with proper treatment, while others may succumb to the virus.

There is no cure for SMBV or LMBV, and infected fish cannot be treated once they are symptomatic. Prevention is the best course of action, and anglers are urged to take steps to prevent the spread of the virus. This includes practicing proper fish handling techniques, cleaning and disinfecting fishing gear, and not moving live fish between bodies of water. State and federal agencies also monitor and manage fish populations to prevent the spread of the viruses and reduce the impact of the disease on bass populations.

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2023 Blotchy Bass Bonanza

2023 BLOTCHY BASS BONANZA 2023 Blotchy Bass Bonanza is from March 1 2023 – February 29, 2024 Event Rules

1. Getting Started

  1. The 2023 – 2024 Blotchy Bass Bonanza is an online citizen science project run through Angler’s Atlas website and their mobile app MyCatch.
  2. Anyone can participate in the 2023 – 2024 Blotchy Bass Bonanza and it is for all ages. Registration is currently only able to support individual registration. For those participants sharing a mobile device, participants must login to their own account to submit their catches through the manage accounts feature.
  3. This event is free to enter.
  4. Catches must be submitted through the MyCatch app for approval.
  5. In order for catches to be sent properly, you must use the same login email and password for both the Angler’s Atlas website and the MyCatch app.
  6. All contestants must register for the event via this URL:
  7. You will receive an automatic email confirming that you have entered the event. 
  8. Once accepted into the event, download the free MyCatch mobile app which is available for both iOS (Apple App Store) and Android (Google Play Store) and login to activate the event on the app using the same login email and password that you used to register in the tournament.
  9. By participating in this event your name may be publicly visible.
  10. Protecting anglers’ privacy is a priority, and any location data collected during the event will not be released to the public. Our promise to anglers is “Secret Fishing Spots Stay Secret”. See below for further details.
  11. A great resource to refer to is our “How To Register For A Tournament” video here:

2. Catch Reporting Rules

  1. This event is for any species of freshwater bass found in Canada and the United States. This includes largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass.
  2. Photos of all bass caught should be submitted for entry as it will provide fisheries biologists with the relative prevalence of blotchy bass syndrome.
  3. In order for each catch to qualify, a photograph of the fish with a measuring device should be taken using the MyCatch app (ie. photos cannot be uploaded from a photo gallery or other source). 
  4. All contestants must have GPS/location services enabled on your cell phone for their catches to qualify. Your location data will be protected. For more information, see details below.
  5. The total length of a fish is measured from the tip of the nose or jaw to the tip of the tail.
  1. All entries should include a measurement device that shows the overall length of the fish.
  2. Event organizers reserve the right to adjust entries. Organizers also reserve the right to limit entries.
  3. A photo entry should clearly show the overall length of the fish, including head and tail, on the ruler. More than one attempt to get a valid scoring photo is allowed. The app will prompt you to either accept the photo or retake a photo.
  4. The mouth is allowed to be open, closed, or anywhere in between, so long as the fish meets the other above requirements.
  5. A second photo, often called the Hero Shot is optional; however if you observe blotchy patches on the bass, please use this option to focus on the blotches (this can include in the mouth). 
  6. A third option is a live video of the release (which is optional).
  7. The app works out of cell range, and catches will synchronize with the server once the user opens the app when back in cell range, or via a wifi signal. Photos are date, time, and location stamped to the moment that they are taken. If the catches are not synced by the prizing deadline, they will not qualify for prizes.
  8. Catches that are submitted will be reviewed frequently for approval. Our Catch Approval Team is made up of trained biology students who will be reviewing and approving all fish. Once the submissions are reviewed and approved, they appear immediately on the appropriate leaderboard(s). DO NOT EXPECT to see entries show up immediately after you log them.
  9. A great resource is the MyCatch video that shows how to complete an entry:

3. Event Location and Times

  1. Event boundaries are within the limits of the countries of Canada and the United States. 
  2. The event runs from:
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Wednesday, March 1, 2023 starting at 6:00 am Eastern Time zone through to

Thursday, February 29, 2024 at 6:00 pm Eastern Time zone

  1. All catches made within the start and end times must be synchronized with the Angler’s Atlas server within the event times to qualify.
  2. At the discretion of the event director, the total number of days may be shortened, postponed or canceled.

4. Awards &  Prizes

  1. Prizes will be awarded monthly and on specific holidays for this event. All prizes will be awarded through random draws. Breakdown of prizes is as follows:
    • Three $100 gift cards randomly drawn every month.
    • $100 gift gard will be randomly drawn for each of the following holidays (St Patrick’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Mothers Day, Memorial Day, Fathers Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, New Years Day, Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day)
  2. Awards will be announced monthly and posted to the event site. Anglers will be contacted directly using the contact information provided in the event registration process.
  3. Anglers have up to 60 days to claim their prize. Anglers that do not claim their prize within this period forfeit their prize.
  4. Additional prizing may be added during the event. 

5. Other Rules

  1. By registering and participating in this event, all participants agree to abide by the rules and regulations they have received as set out in the 2022 Blotchy Bass Bonanza rules. 
  2. To ensure the best chances of survival for the fish, all participants are to handle fish safely. Catch and release is highly encouraged.
  3. Anglers can only submit catches that they have caught themselves. This is an individual event, so you cannot enter as a partnership or team, and under no circumstances can you share fish with any other angler. Anglers are free to fish alone or with other anglers, but each registered angler may only enter their own fish on their own app.
  4. All fish entered for this event must be caught via angling i.e. using hook, line, rod and reel. At no time will fish caught by non angling (i.e. use of traps, trap nets or cages) be allowed to be entered. Usage of a landing net to land a hooked fish is allowed.
  5. Each contestant must have in their possession a valid fishing license for their respective jurisdiction or be exempt under regulations of their jurisdiction.
  6. Each contestant must conform to the fishing rules and regulations that are in place for the jurisdiction in which they are fishing. You must follow all regulations pertaining to possession limits.
  7. Promoters and organizers assisting in this Citizen Science event are not responsible for death, injury, damage, liability, theft, fire or any loss to any contestants.
  8. Any angler found to be cheating will be disqualified from the event. Angler’s Atlas also reserves the right to ban anglers from competing in future events.
  9. All rules have loopholes. It is our intention to provide an honest sportsmanlike tournament. In the interest of good sportsmanship, contestants are reminded the spirit of the rule will prevail in all judgments.
  10. All questions or concerns relating to the rules of this event are to be referred to the Organizer. Their decision will be final in all cases. No other person can be considered a spokesman for the rules during the tournament. The contact for this event is The MyCatch Approval Team and they can be reached by email at (please include the name of the event in your email).
  11. Any contestant has the right to make a protest against another contestant by contacting an Organizer through email and must be completed and presented within 1 hour of the close of the tournament. Their decision will be final in all cases. A $100 dollar protest fee may need to accompany the protest. The fee will be returned if the protest is found to be valid.
  12. All participants must follow boating safety regulations in your jurisdiction.
  13. All photo and video submissions may be used by MyCatch by Angler’s Atlas for future use.

6. Data Privacy and Fisheries Research

“Secret Fishing Spots Stay Secret” — This is our primary commitment to anglers who report their catches through MyCatch. So what does this mean in practice?

  1. Angler’s Atlas does not release MyCatch GPS data to the public. It is treated as confidential and is provided to fisheries researchers under strict conditions.
  2. Every research team we work with must sign a data sharing agreement that sets the terms of use for the data.
  3. Data is anonymized before it is provided to the researcher.
  4. Researchers agree not to share the data with anyone else.
  5. Researchers cannot use the data for any purpose other than the research specified in the agreement. 
  6. Exact location data cannot be published as part of the scientific research. Instead, it has to be generalized to a larger region so the location cannot be reverse engineered. 
  7. Angler’s Atlas may release data to a law enforcement agency if compelled to do so under court order.

These data privacy rules are designed to protect our angler’s private data, to conserve the fisheries, and to make sure we maintain a trusting relationship with our anglers into the future. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to reach out to Angler’s Atlas President directly by email (

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