Got Nature? Blog

MyDNR, Indiana’s Outdoor Newsletter: Blotchy bass syndrome (BBS) is the occurrence of black ink-like spots (hyperpigmentation) on the skin, fins, and/or mouths of freshwater bass species.

Researchers once thought that melanosis was caused by sun exposure or stress related to fishing, temperature, or pollution; however, researchers recently discovered that a family of viruses was associated with the black spots in fish that were in poor body condition.

black bass

Photo courtesy of USGS

The Division of Fish & Wildlife is partnering with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to collect samples from black bass species to test for BBS and needs your help. DNR encourages anglers to report observations of affected bass when you are fishing, so they and USGS can learn more about the effect of this family of viruses.

How to participate:

  • Download the MyCatch app from Angler’s Atlas.
  • Register for the “Blotchy Bass Bonanza.”
  • Take photos of all the bass you’ve caught (preferably on a measuring board) while fishing and upload them to the MyCatch app.

The Blotchy Bass Bonanza runs from March 1, 2023 —Feb. 29, 2024. The Indiana DNR is not associated with the MyCatch app or the Blotchy Bass Bonanza.

Newsletter can be found online: MyDNR Email Newsletter

For more information please visit Investigating blotch bass syndrome in black basses.

FNR Extension Aquaculture and Aquatic Resources
FNR Extension Publications
Indiana Pond Fish, Species Identification Card Set, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR)
Walleye Farmed Fish Fact Sheet, The Education Store, Purdue Extension’s resource center
Pacific White Shrimp Farmed Fact Sheet, The Education Store
Yellow Perch Farmed Fish Fact Sheet, The Education Store
Tilapia Farmed Fish Fact Sheet, The Education Store
Rainbow Trout Farmed Fish Fact Sheet, The Education Store
American Paddlefish, The Education Store
A Guide to Small-Scale Fish Processing Using Local Kitchen Facilities, The Education Store
Aquaculture Family Coloring Book Development, The Education Store
Eat Midwest Fish, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant online resource hub
Aquatics & Fisheries Videos, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources YouTube Channel Playlist

Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Department of Fish & Wildlife

Got Nature?