Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks: Minimizing catch-and-release mortality
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wants to remind anglers that as reservoir water temperatures increase, mortality associated with catch-and-release also increases.
A past study published in The North American Journal of Fisheries Management found that walleye catch-and-release mortality rate rose from zero to 1.8 percent with water temps below 68 degrees to nearly 16 percent when water temps were above 68.
Walleye that are played for extended periods of time, handled extensively in the boat, and/or stored in a live well will see an increase in mortality if the fish is later released.
According to a news release Tuesday, July 17 from Fish, Wildlife and Parks, techniques to minimize catch-and-release mortality include:
- Fight and land the fish as quickly as possible.
- Keep it in the water.
- Remove the hook as gently as possible.
- Have a camera or phone ready for pictures.
- Don’t place the fish in a live well if you plan on releasing it.
Additionally, when legal, anglers are encouraged to harvest fish that are deeply hooked or bleeding, as those fish will likely not survive.