Every angler that catches a fish has to make a decision to either keep or release it. There is no harm in practicing selective harvesting when within the state or federal regulations: in fact selective harvesting can improve the quality of fish in some reservoirs. Nevertheless, if an angler releases it what are the odds of it living? One abstract that covers the survival of angler caught and released is A Simple Model for Predicting Survival of Angler-Caught and Released Largemouth Bass, Transactions of the American Fisheries Society (Volume 137, Issue 3, 2008, Pages 834 -840. Authors: Gene R. Wilde, Kevin L. Pope).
(Abstract) We conducted a controlled experiment in the laboratory to assess the influence of anatomical hooking location and water temperature on survival of angler-caught and released largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides. Survival was 98% (58 of 59 fish) among fish that were hand-hooked within the oral cavity (including the gills), whereas survival was 66% (33 of 50 fish) among fish that were hand-hooked in the esophagus. Survival of hooked fish was not significantly influenced by water temperature (7-27°C) or the hooking location water temperature interaction. We combined our results with prior research to develop a predictive model of largemouth bass survival, which was 98.3% (SD = 1.87%) for fish hooked in the oral cavity and 55.0% (SD = 9.70%) for fish hooked in the esophagus. The model is valid for water temperatures ranging from 7°C to 27°C and allows one to estimate, with known precision, the survival of angler-caught and released largemouth bass without the need for controlled studies or for holding fish in pens or cages to assess delayed mortality.
The complete article and results can be found at www.fisheries.org or http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all?content=10.1577/T06-273.1 The article contains valuable information that any angler will find useful.
Gene R. Wilde, Professor of Fish Ecology, Department of Biological Sciences, Texas Tech University
Kevin L. Pope, Assistant Leader and Associate Professor U.S. Geological Survey, Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
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