C&R Mortality Rate on Steelhead

#1
Does anyone have a good study on what the mortality rate for caught and released steelhead is in our local region? The quick google search netted me one study which included rainbow trout, but I could find nothing for steelhead?

Lets say we are talking a selective catch and release fishery during the winter when water temperature isn't an issue and the fish are not stressed from spawning yet. If 100 prespawn steelhead (not spawning or postspawn/kelt) were caught on single barbless hooks, brought quickly to hand, handled as little as possible, not lifted from the water, and then released, how many of that 100 would die?

Any idea where I would get my hands on this some reading material that answers this question? (links, scientific journals?)

And what does WDFW consider to be the mortality rate for C&R fisheries such as the Sauk/Skagit and what infomation did they use to make this determination?


-John
 
#2
The mortality rate that was adopted by Washington and Oregon for estimating impact on Columbia River ESA listed species for sport fisherman is 10%. I dont have a study for you but I believe I heard that the actual rate is 1/3 that and for once they are being conservative when setting policy.

Brad
 

Charles Sullivan

ignoring Rob Allen and Generic
#4
There should be a new one out in the next couple of years. I spoke with the bio in my region and he told me that they were conducting one. They tried a pilot last year and reported no mortality for 32 fish caught. I believe the fish were tracked electronically after capture.

The best study I believe is out of B.C. I'm pretty sure it is the Vedder.

In permitting the upper Columbia hatchery harvest fishery (Methow), I believe that WDFW uses the 5% figure. In permitting the Skagit C&R season I believe the 10% figure is used. It seems backwards due to the difference in time that winter and summer fish spend in fresh water and water temperature, however it may just be that the bio.'s running the Skagit gig are being a bit more conservative.

I suspect that the native co-managers may have a say as well but I'm not 100% sure on that point.

Lester 5&30,
cds
 

Jeremy Floyd

fly fishing my way through life
#5
There is a study done by canada floating around on the site here. It has mortality rates for many different types of fish. If my cannabinoid abused memory serves me right it is about 2-3%. One of the interesting things about the study was that the closer to spawning, the tougher the fish became. The skin thickened up and the majority of the breeds studied became more hardy.

Bull/dollies had the lowest mortality at like 1/3 of a %.
 
#6
What Jeremy said plus....

Numbers don't really mean jack because what you need to do is lower your impact. The most important thing is to learn to fight big fish hard and fast, how to lead them into the shore, to use heavy tippets to allow this, and most importantly, keep them off the rocks and away from dry surfaces. Also, pay attention to water temps and don't net them.

There is a lot more to C&R than simply throwing the fish back, it is a way of fighting them and handling them.

I fished a small creek all summer that was fairly warm and caught the same cuttie in the same spot 7 times. I personally believe salmonoids are far tougher than people give them credit for.

For good practice, go chum fishing next season with a 9wt and 12# Maxima Ultra Green. See how hard you can pull on those fish before the knot breaks and how big of a fish you can really horse around, you most likely will be very surprised.
 

LBC

nymphing beads with a spey pole.
#7
I think the methow uses a 10% mortallity rate... Im pretty sure that its 10 because they have a bait fishery on the mainstem and those fish creeled along with the methow fish are categorized together. Key words being I think. It would make sense to me though since bait hooked fish IMO are less likely to survive after release.
 
#8
I personally believe salmonoids are far tougher than people give them credit for.
.

I strongly agree with that. I dont know how many times I have caught steelhead or even salmon with hooks deep in their throat, side of their mouth etc. Those fish still put up a good fight and didnt appear to be nearing death. Also I have caught quite a few steelhead with good sized gashes on their side them that have healed over. I can only imagine what caused that gash and how the hell that fish survived.

I guess another question I am wondering is. How many steelhead have you seen dead on the banks prior to spawning time? In my 10 or so years of steelhead addiction I personally have seen one dead fish. It just seems like with 5%-10% mortality rate I/we would see more dead steelhead on popular C&R fisheries on a busy weekend. But then again Im not on the water near as much as some of you, maybe you have seen otherwise?
 
#9
I guess another question I am wondering is. How many steelhead have you seen dead on the banks prior to spawning time? In my 10 or so years of steelhead addiction I personally have seen one dead fish. It just seems like with 5%-10% mortality rate I/we would see more dead steelhead on popular C&R fisheries on a busy weekend. But then again Im not on the water near as much as some of you, maybe you have seen otherwise?
I have only seen a dead fish on the Methow and my guess would be that was because the waters were warm. Never on a winter steelhead fishery.
 

Jergens

AKA Joe Willauer
#10
What Jeremy said plus....

Numbers don't really mean jack because what you need to do is lower your impact. The most important thing is to learn to fight big fish hard and fast, how to lead them into the shore, to use heavy tippets to allow this, and most importantly, keep them off the rocks and away from dry surfaces. Also, pay attention to water temps and don't net them.

There is a lot more to C&R than simply throwing the fish back, it is a way of fighting them and handling them.

I fished a small creek all summer that was fairly warm and caught the same cuttie in the same spot 7 times. I personally believe salmonoids are far tougher than people give them credit for.

For good practice, go chum fishing next season with a 9wt and 12# Maxima Ultra Green. See how hard you can pull on those fish before the knot breaks and how big of a fish you can really horse around, you most likely will be very surprised.
Iagree except for your "don't net them" comment. if you have a good catch and release rubber bagged net, it is much better for the fish because 1: the net is slimy when wet, so it doesnt harm the fishes skin 2. you can land them even easier and quicker with a net and 3. they are a very valuable tool for rehabbing the fish for release, with a propper net and netter, a fish can be landed and released very quickly. No knotted nets though!
 
#12
Iagree except for your "don't net them" comment. if you have a good catch and release rubber bagged net, it is much better for the fish because 1: the net is slimy when wet, so it doesnt harm the fishes skin 2. you can land them even easier and quicker with a net and 3. they are a very valuable tool for rehabbing the fish for release, with a propper net and netter, a fish can be landed and released very quickly. No knotted nets though!
Yeah I agree with you, I just have zero experience with nets and steelhead. From what I have seen, the guys using nets aren't helping the fish much, but that doesn't mean guys like you can't use them to help the fish.
 

James Mello

Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"
#13
Yeah I agree with you, I just have zero experience with nets and steelhead. From what I have seen, the guys using nets aren't helping the fish much, but that doesn't mean guys like you can't use them to help the fish.
The big rubber/silicon nets are pricey, so you're probably just seeing the cats using the old school knotted nylon jobbies... Those aren't hot for the fish.
 

Stonefish

Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater
#14
Jason,
Another excellent knotless net for catch & release is the Beckman FinSaver.

Pen Fin Saver Nets
Pen Fin Savers are stout “bigger fish” nets with all the Pen Series anti-tangle attributes and a practical array of hoop/bag/handle options. But they’re especially release-friendly, with smaller knotless treated mesh for a more caring and gentler contact with the fish. With a Fin Saver there’s less mesh-snarling of teeth, fins, and gill plates. Today’s trophy angler requires a rugged right-sized net for landing large fish — as well as a fish-friendly net bag for the most lively releases!
http://www.beckmannet.com/acatalog/Pen_Fin_Saver_Nets.html