CATCH AND RELEASE STUDY

Written by Bob Melrose.

Spring has sprung, the grass is ris, and it is time to find where the fishin is. Sorry, for the lame attempt at poetry but it is May and it is time for the fishing reports and tips on the Oscar's web site. We will try to keep you posted each Wednesday on fishing opportunities in our area so you can plan your weekends and trips. 

You will find info on local lakes and the rivers when they open, Kitimat River and Douglas Channel, rivers in the Terrace area and Prince Rupert salt-chuck. These reports will be current at the mid week point but be aware that rivers may change radically with heavy rains overnight. Always check for last minute info before committing to a trip.

In the tips section we will try to keep you updated on regulation changes, techniques to make your excursions more successful and general interest info for all who appreciate the great fishing Northwestern BC has to offer.

Catch and Release Study

Catch and release is a key component of the BC fishery and is mandatory in most of our Steelhead management. So, it was very interesting to view the results of a couple of recent studies. As ethical anglers we are very aware of proper fish handling practices and strive to take the best care of those beautiful fish that we release.

In the March/April edition of BC outdoors, studies over a two year period showed a 98% survival rate on Sockeye Salmon. 173 Sockeye were caught in 2008, kept in holding pens for 24 hours and then released. Only two sockeye died. The study was repeated in 2009 with 291 fish caught and kept for 24 hours with only 5 dying. Mortality was usually due to hook piercing an artery. DFO estimates were based on a 10% mortality but these studies show that with proper handling that mortality is only about 1.5% and that means most of those fish if they can escape the other obstacles have a good chance of making it to the spawning beds.

In the spring 2010 edition of BC Outdoors the results of a study done every 5 years were revealed. In BC's 200,000 lakes and 750,000 kilometres of streams a total of 270,000 anglers caught over 8 million fish of which 74% were voluntarily released. As you can see catch and release is an important tool in our fisheries management. Here the mortality with trout depended a great deal on water temperature, gear type and amount of time the fish were out of the water. Mortality was lowest in streams, as low as 4%, probably due to cooler temperatures in the stream and higher dissolved oxygen. Mortality in lakes especially in high summer temperatures was much higher, up to 38%. The average was 20%. So, the critical factors are to play the fish as quickly as possible, use barb-less hooks for the quickest release and to keep the fish in the water. For any fish hooked deeply we should leave hook in place and have leader cut as short as possible. Fish should not be out of water for more than a couple of seconds. Info on proper handling is contained in your fishing regulations.