C&R Mortality

Matt Paluch

Active Member
So we should all do our best to reduce mortality and use proper fish handling techniques. Observational studies have shown that the average time out of water for released fish where the angler was unaware they were being observed was significantly less than a minute - I think average was around 20 seconds. Further study done on Yellowstone Cutthroat trout (even during times of higher water temperatures) showed that fish could be out of the water for up to a minute with no increased mortality. The caveat is that the study was on only Yellowstone Cutthroat in one area.

There are other studies that show some other results, but also had some questionable methods (in my opinion).

Here's my personal philosophy for how I handle fish. Endangered or threatened species stay in the water with as little touching as possible. Wild fish that have healthy populations may get a picture taken if it's a big fish. Hatchery fish get handled respectfully if they're being released, but I have no problem bonking them.

Some of the fish handling police present on the internet take things way too far. There are also plenty of instances where educating anglers on better handling is warranted.
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
The health of our catch and release trout fisheries prove there is no problem even when best practices are not used.

The biggest problem on trout fisheries these days is people telling others how to behave.
 

SlowFish

At least 6 discs in the changer
I only read the abstract of the study and blog post, so correct me if I am wrong, but I did not see one aspect addressed I have always assumed would have a large impact on c&r mortality: gear used. In particular for fly casters, light tippets and long fights. Going under gunned and landing a beast is good fun, a challenge and I enjoy it. I have been much more aware in the last few years though of my chances of hooking a beast and how I'm geared. The less time from hook set to net has to factor in here.

That said, I'm completely on board with the grip and grin (if you must) being wet and short. Clearly that effects outcomes.
 

Nick Clayton

Well-Known Member
WFF Supporter
I only read the abstract of the study and blog post, so correct me if I am wrong, but I did not see one aspect addressed I have always assumed would have a large impact on c&r mortality: gear used. In particular for fly casters, light tippets and long fights. Going under gunned and landing a beast is good fun, a challenge and I enjoy it. I have been much more aware in the last few years though of my chances of hooking a beast and how I'm geared. The less time from hook set to net has to factor in here.

That said, I'm completely on board with the grip and grin (if you must) being wet and short. Clearly that effects outcomes.

I wonder about gear a lot as well. I wonder what is better/worse for the fish... Fishing a heavier rod and leader, landing the fish quickly, then taking a quick picture with the fish out of the water for say 20 seconds, or fishing a lighter rod/leader, fighting the fish substantially longer, but never taking them from the water and releasing them untouched with no picture.

Often I see people say things like "just release them. No need to stroke your ego with a picture" etc. But then I see these same people talk about targeting various fish using super light gear and I wonder what is really worse.
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
I wonder about gear a lot as well. I wonder what is better/worse for the fish... Fishing a heavier rod and leader, landing the fish quickly, then taking a quick picture with the fish out of the water for say 20 seconds, or fishing a lighter rod/leader, fighting the fish substantially longer, but never taking them from the water and releasing them untouched with no picture.

Often I see people say things like "just release them. No need to stroke your ego with a picture" etc. But then I see these same people talk about targeting various fish using super light gear and I wonder what is really worse.
I agree, that's why i say what I do on this topic. When it comes to trout, catch and release works. We don't need to micromanage eachother.
 

udiablo

Active Member
Stopped taking pics some years ago, now focused on keeping fish in water and release. I don't miss the pics, memories are good and I prefer to fish alone anyway. Suggest if you think pics are necessary, then take a buddy to do that, or don't
 
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onefish

Active Member
The vast majority of anglers I see use good technique. The poor handlers of fish tend to be newbies. Hopefully with some experience they will join the majority. There will always be a few novices as well as the odd bleeder, so having a low mortality associated with C and R is the price to pay for having a fishery.
The fishery of by gone era of killing your limit every time out had a 100% mortality rate, so I would say we have made progress in that regard.
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
If you want to write you have to have photos. I wish i had taken more pictures through the years. Even if it woukd have been harder on the fish. Not a single fishery i have ever participated in was diminished due to sport angler conduct, not even keeping limits.
 

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