catch and release mortality

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Ron Simpson, Jun 11, 2013.

  1. H:rolleyes: as anyone heard of a study to see what the mortality rate is of catch and release fly fishing? My bait fishing buddy thinks it is a least 10%
  2. I think Steven Cooke (Carleton University in Ottawa) has done a few studies along these lines. Do a 'Google Scholar' search and I'm sure you'll find his research on sport fishing subjects.
  3. Several years back I worked on a catch and release mortality study using flies, spinners, and bait on rainbow trout on a controlled stream section in Idaho. I don't have a link to the report, but as one of the people who was catching and tagging the fish, I can assure that the catch and release mortality on flies was well below 10%. I can recall only one mortality on a fly caught fish (out of 100+). Bait caused more moralities, but not as many as I would have thought. I believe it was closer to 10%.
  4. I know its low but last week I caught a trout that swallowed my fly and had to sadly take him home and eat it. My buddy fishing with powerbait killed every fish getting the hook out....trying to get him to try fly fishing but so far no luck.
  5. I did some lake fishing a few weeks ago and had a fish take the fly deep. I netted the fish and although I could see the eye of the hook decided to cut the leader and let the fish go with hook inside. He swam away fine but I have no way of knowing if the fish actually survived. I have read and been told that hooks "dessolve" fairly quickly in fish and the fish rid themselves of them. I have never seen any proof this is actually the case.

  6. Next time you might try just cutting the leader and leaving the fly. I've heard that fish can get by that way, and that sometimes the fly can even work itself out. In any case, at least then there's a chance that it could survive if you are not wanting to keep it. Just a thought.
  7. I think it is less then 10% with released fish.
    My own personal study puts it at 100% mortality for all hatchery steelhead and coho. ;)
  8. Good idea I would gladly sacrifice a fly to save a life....
  9. Over the years, I've read many articles on catch and release that indicate a hook will indeed dissolve if a trout takes it too deep and you can't remove it without harming the fish. I believe this is true when you consider that trout eat cased caddis, case and all. Evidently, they have one heck of a digestive system.

    However, I've also read that the digestive system of fish will not dissolve a stainless steel hook so you might want to keep that in mind if you're dedicated to releasing any species of fish you catch... especially in the salt.

    In regards to the mortality rate of caught and released trout, it's more like 3 to 4 percent than 10 percent. I can't see it less than that. There's too many factors that can contribute to the death of a caught fish even when properly handled. Documents/Reprints/PopeWildetroutcr.pdf
    Kent Lufkin likes this.
  10. content deleted I somehow managed to quote myself
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  11. I caught a good sized Brookie in a mountain lake that became dinner. While cleaning I cut open the stomach to see what it contained and found a rusted snelled hook. I have no idea how long the hook had been in there but this was a strong, aggressive fish.
  12. Probably not to many opinions here on this subject but if you're into pain, I'd suggest a trip to the steelhead forum, a bucket of popcorn slobbered in butta, and a double shot of your favorite elixir. The Occupy Skagit threads in particular have some great reading. I say it's 7.51%, but that's only my professional opinion.
  13. Speies of fish,locaation, water temperature and fish handling all play a role. For most species and locations the 10% figure is absurdly high. Your a google search away from finding out yourself.

    Go Sox,
  14. I have seen two fish, that I can remember, in my 50 years of fishing that had passed a hook out their vents. The first one was a trout my cousin hooked in the mid 70's on the Yakima river. We were fairly certain that it was the same fish that had broken his leader a few days earlier. When he landed it the second time a rusted hook and leader was hanging from the vent. The other one was in late 00's at Lenice. I landed a rainbow that had a leader, hook and power egg trailing from its vent. Both fish lived to fight another day. So if you do happen to hook a fish deep and it is not bleeding, cut the leader as close to the mouth as you can. Tom
  15. Is "vent" slang for asshole?
    aplTyler likes this.
  16. Yup, although "asshole" seems like slang for vent.
    aplTyler likes this.
  17. Many years ago, my son caught a bass using a worm for bait. The bass swallowed the bait and only had the leader sticking out of it's mouth. I cut the leader and we put the bass into our pond. A couple years later it died after the pond froze for a couple weeks. The bass still had that leader sticking out of it's mouth, hook still in stomach...
  18. Charles is correct the actually mortalities vary quite a bit depending on the water conditions temperature, etc.), the angler, the species, the condition of the fish. One thing that most studies have found that the significant factor in determining the mortality rates for salmonids is the hooking location site. Those fish that are hooked in what is often called "critical areas" (eyes, gills, base of the tongue, gut, etc.) have much higher mortalities than those hooked in "non-critical areas".

    A quick and dirty way of comparing the relative mortality rates of fishing methods, etc. is to look at those hook site locations. After reading dozens of hooking mortality studies and working on several others it can generally be said that the mortality rate of released fish caught with bait typically more than 10 times higher than those caught on artificial lures/flies. For trout that mortality of bait caught fish released is something more than 30% while the of those caught on flies is typically in that 1 to 3% range (this is using "j" hooks - circle hooks can significantly reduce bait mortalities.

    Those studies jive with my own experiences as a professional biologist over 3 decades and as an avid angler for 6 decades. A couple interesting exceptions include winter steelhead where the hook site location of bait caught and lure caught pre-spawn steelhead has little difference. The case with winter kelts or summer steelhead is another story with critically hooked fish being much higher with bait than artificial lures. Even fish hooked in critical areas may not die. Over the decades that includes a fair number of fish handled I have seen 31 salmonids survive having a completely severed gill arch. Those fish include 1 resident rainbow, 1 adult coho, and 29 bull trout (just another illustration of the importance of individual variables).

    As Charles mentioned if anyone is really interested in this topic any of the various "search engines" is your friend. I would suggest that it might be an interesting exercise for a cold snowy winter day/weekend.

  19. I have seen many television shows that practice catch and release but before they release it handle the fish for a photo....seems like this would remove some of there protective slime off and leave it prone to some infection or disease ......any thoughts on this?
  20. I don't handle fish with my hands if at all possible. If I am fishing from a boat I will use a knotless net and remove the hook with the fish in the net and the bag in a few inches of water. When fishing for steelhead I have found that I can bring the fish up close while standing in a few feet of water and usually remove the hook without touching the fish at all. No picture opportunities doing it this way but I want to have as little impact on the fish as I can.
    Paul Huffman, Flyborg and Skysoldier like this.

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