Safest Method for Live Releasing Walleye & Northern Pike
CATCH * PHOTO * RELEASE: The techniques below will help increase the survival rate of released Walleye and Northern Pike to ensure great fishing for future generations.
1. First off, pinch DOWN /or cut off barbs on all your tackle . If you are buying new tackle, buy barbless lures & hooks. Buy barbless tackle.
2. Do not use nets to bring fish in. Use fish cradles for the large northern, musky and walleye. And for the bass and walleye, we highly recommend using a net that will not harm the fish and will provide an easy release. Better yet, don't use either net or cradle. Carefully handle and release the fish as instructed. If you insist on the net or cradle, please have it bagged in either a garbage bag or cloth bag so it does not tangle with any of the gear on the flight.
3. Bring the fish along side the boat, while still in the water, unhook the fish for a fast release, if a photo is not desired.
4. Any hooks with treble hooks, replace with a a single hook or cut off 1 or 2 hooks of the treble.
5. Use a needle nose pliers to cut out the hook. If a hook is in the gills, cut the lure off and leave the hook in the fish. It will dissolve and cause less damage to the fish than messing with it. It's not recommended to use jaw spreaders
6. Do NOT let the fish flop in the boat. Handle it carefully and lower it back into the water, not letting it drop back into the water.
7. Do NOT place fish on a stringer and think later to release the fish and that it will live Odds are IT WILL DIE after being on a stringer.
8. DO NOT hold fish by it's eyes. (How would YOU like it if someone grabbed you in the eyeball??) This can and probably WILL BLIND the fish.
9. DO NOT HOLD FISH VERTICALLY. This damages the fish's internal organs. If is is a LARGE fish and heavy to hold, hold the fish HORIZONTAL in both hands.
10. It's not recommended to use a scale to weigh your fish. Again this is holding the fish vertically and harms the fish's internal organs.
Measure the fish. That's how a true trophy is measuredóby the inches, NOT pounds. Ever hear of Boone & Crockett scores?? They measure the horns, not weigh them!!! Or have you heard of the Molson Big fish contest? They measure the fish in inches!!!!
11. Do NOT take fish back to cabin to show off to your buddies or for taking photograph. Odds are again IT WILL DIE. (How would we survive if we could not breath for 5 to 10 or even 20 minutes.)
Remember to take your camera out in the boat with you. Don't leave it in the cabin and miss out on a photograph of a lifetime to share with friends and family back home. REMEMBER: THE FUTURE OF FISHING IS IN YOUR HANDS