Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wants to remind anglers that as reservoir water temperatures increase, mortality associated with catch and release also increases.
A study published in 2011 in The North American Journal of Fisheries Management found that walleye catch and release mortality rate rose from 0-1.8% with water temps below 68° F to nearly 16% when water temps were above 68° F.
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.
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, anglers are encouraged to harvest fish that are deeply hooked or bleeding, as those fish will likely not survive.
(via MT FWP)