Steelhead mortality

#1
I am asking this sincerely. I don't understand the C&R mortality rate. I am not disputing that it does not happen...just that it's hard to wrap my head around. A salmon, yes. They are dieing as soon as they enter the fresh water system. Steelhead seem to be much more resilient.

After catching steelies last year, I'd throw them up on the bank in the weeds, and keep fishing. The fish flopped around a while, then seemed to stop. Several minutes later when it was time to move down river, I'd grab the fish, put them on a stringer and tie it off. The fish were in the water, but I wasn't worried about it. Three hours later I'd come back, and I thought my fish were gone. Turns out, they were very much alive and swimming comfortably behind a big rock, still tied off with plenty of spunk left.

This happened so many times, that I had to start taking the time to bonk them on the head.

So you see, I just have a hard time understanding how these very tough fish, die from being caught. Over here on the eastside, the fish have to swim farther, yada, yada, yada.
Is it because they are caught several times in a short amount of time, or too close to spawning time?

:hmmm:
 

Charles Sullivan

ignoring Rob Allen and Generic
#2
The vedder study is the best I've seen. There is one on Vancouver island, I have heard. 2-3% seems like the actual mortality rate. I am not sure if that is above the baseline (non-caught) mortality rate.

IMO It's a red herring with regard to recovery. Angling just doesn't push the needle so to speak.

I would also expect a lower mortality rate on the East side fish because their scales have hardened and they are summer runs with high fat reserves.

These are likely the reason's that the fed's use a 5% mortality on the East side rather that the 10% used on hte west side. Of couse all the stdies pointing that show the mortality rates are west side winter studies.

I have to be honest with everyone, I've made this same post abut 9 billion times. The average angler doesn't pay attention or read the studies. The studies may be in opposiion to their opinions. The same question is asked over and over, and then we blame the state for closures that the fed's are responsable for and get together and support hatcheries that do no help wild fish. All the while we get pissed at other anglers over the methods they fish under the delusion that C&R mortality makes a difference. It does not. Rant over.

Go Sox,
cds
 

Methow Roamer

Seeker of the Exotic and Aquatic
#3
Well, I almost posted this:
I also wonder how any estimate could be made of C&R mortality rates.
How many fish were followed around after release to see if they died soon?
Were autopsies conducted?
But decided to do a little research first, namely because I am rather skeptical of C&R mortality.

This is what I found.
Dr. Bruce Tufts is a professor of biology at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He has studied the physiological effects of catch and release fishing since the late 1980’s. The findings from his research have helped shape catch and release regulations throughout North America.

According to Tufts, factors such as time out of water and length of fight combine to determine a released fish’s chance of survival. In his study, “Physiological Effect of Brief Air Exposure in Exhaustively Exercised Rainbow Trout: Implications for “Catch and Release” Fisheries”, Tufts studied the effect of time out of water periods of zero, 30 and 60 seconds for rainbow trout after exhaustive exercise. In 57-degree water, after 12 hours of recovery time, the control group-- fish that were held in captivity but not exercised--experienced no mortality. The group not exposed to air immediately after exercise experienced 12% mortality. The group exposed to air for 30 seconds after exercise experienced 38% mortality, and the group exposed to air for 60 seconds after exercise experience 72% mortality. 7 out of 10 trout died after 12 hours when exposed to air for 60 seconds.
LINK

Makes even the skeptic consider the possibility that C&R mortality is a serious issue...
 

Charles Sullivan

ignoring Rob Allen and Generic
#4
Apples and oranges. See the steelhead studies.

When do we fish 57 degree water?

Go Sox,
cds

Well, I almost posted this:

But decided to do a little research first, namely because I am rather skeptical of C&R mortality.

This is what I found.
LINK

Makes even the skeptic consider the possibility that C&R mortality is a serious issue...
 
#6
Though that article was a good read, I didn't find that link helpful. It seemed to read as an opinion. Also he speaks of trout, which I believe (can't prove) to be more fragile. Again, I'm not saying it isn't harmful, just that steelies seem much stronger than that. I do believe it's a good reminder to get the fish back in the water ASAP.

Thanks for the info Charles. After all these years, I had no idea how different east vs west steelies are from each other. Well that, and the fish on the west side seem to be a little bit brighter....just a little though. :rolleyes:
 
#10
I think the humane thing to do for a steelhead your gonna hill its beat them over the head with one solid blow from your favorite device. I know alot of people cherish there bonk sticks.
 

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
#11
I8abug,

The Tufts report is one piece of information, but I wouldn't take it to the bank as the final word, especially as it relates to steelhead CNR mortality. Charles is roughly right; the best information suggests that steelhead CNR mortality is around 2-4%, and that is generally with experienced anglers handling the fish. A lot of anglers who catch and release steelhead are not so experienced. As a result, 5% seems pretty reasonable to most biologists, and the 10% applied to some of the ESA fisheries provides a reasonable buffer.

I don't doubt the experience you report, but will share my opinion that that's pretty crass handling of a fish, even one you intend to kill, keep, and eat. I think even a hatchery fish deserves the respect of being whacked on the head, well enough to stun it if not kill it, and then cut the gills and bleed it. The quality of the meat will be improved by that simple act. Keep the meat cool in the river - if the river is cool - or in an ice chest if you want the fish to be worth cooking and eating when you get it home.

Sg
 

Charles Sullivan

ignoring Rob Allen and Generic
#12
Roughly right? I'm completely right!!!! God damn it!!! Wolves are killing children!! Oh wait, it's thanksgiving, I've been drinking.

Inexperienced anglers don't cach enough fish to make them matter. Tht is unless a aguide rows hem into a fish. In that case the guide should know how to release a fish.

Go Sox,
cds