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pvelyk

Reviving Fish on the boat

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With all the talk of low king numbers I would like to find out peoples different methods of reviving fish they catch on the boat prior to releasing them.  I know there has to be a better way than I was doing as about half the fish took off after I released and the other half seemed to either not do so well or took a bit to get it together.  I want to give these fish the best shot possible so these fish survive and contribute some fun again to someone else.  

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Pvelyk I like this post and I feel the same way. I am no expert but I think I learned a lot from the Muskie fisher man and women out there. I try not to handle the fish to much and get them back in the water as fast as possible, like as long as you can hold your breath. I also am not afraid of using hook cutters and just cutting out the hooks if it looks like it might do some damage to the fish. We burned threw a lot of treble hooks this year on the smaller kings but I hope that fish lives to hits some kids lure next year. I will almost always stop the boat and hold the fish by the tail and swim him in the water until it is ready. I know stopping the boat is kind of unproductive and not very good for doubles but it is just the way we do it. But sometimes they will bleed so bad that there is no hope and you have to eat them. Hope this helps Jeff

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Back in my walleye tournament days we got docked weight for any dead walleye brought to the scales.  The tournament directors were very anal about fish that were unable to be releases after weigh in.  One year they brought in a guy who taught us how to keep walleye alive that came from deep water, as these were the fish most likely to not survive.  We were told that there bellies fill up with air when brought up through the water column.  The air would cause the fish to belly up in the livewells or when released.  We were given several hollow needles with a cap on them.  You stuck the needle into the belly of the fish, submerged it in your live well and removed the cap.  You could actually see the air bubbles in the water when you uncapped it.  The mortality rate dropped by a very noticeable amount. 

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Thanks for asking this question, and thanks for the answers. I hate releasing fish and watching them die shortly after. I know that sometimes it is out of our control, but it's good to have more knowledge and options.

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Thanks for the info guys all good stuff, what I am really struggling with is the best way to hold the fish in the water. Between the gunwhale height, waves and the occasional fish trying to get loose early I often find myself with empty hands and a fish that could be diving down or floating on the surface. My next thought is to get a boga stick and try that but I am hoping there is a better way.

Appreciate that video of removing air from the swim blatter, I have read about doing it but I always feared doing more damage with the needle than help.

Edited by pvelyk

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I use a boga style grip on a rope. Sometimes it takes a little extra help to hold the fish in a good position. But usually you set them in the water maybe slow your troll a little reset your line and the fish is good to go. You will still have the odd fish that will not revive but they are defiantly the expectations. Temperature and depth do play a role in how long it takes to bring them back and how likely they are to survive but it does work well

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Thanks for the video, I looked a bit yesterday for it but only found the one from Finders Keeper with holding the tail with the fish backwards or holding by the gills forwards and neither seemed ideal to me.   This looks like the best solution and will give it a try next year.  Good stuff, I appreciate everyone's help.

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Thanks for the video, I looked a bit yesterday for it but only found the one from Finders Keeper with holding the tail with the fish backwards or holding by the gills forwards and neither seemed ideal to me.   This looks like the best solution and will give it a try next year.  Good stuff, I appreciate everyone's help.

 

Yea, but they're "Pros." For sure I'd do as they say. 

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Yea, but they're "Pros." For sure I'd do as they say. 

Yeah, I know where your going there, LOL!  Even if I didn't, I learned a  long time ago gills are sacred to a fishes survival.  If you want the fish to live they never get touched.  Common sense always trumps a persons titles.

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Common sense always trumps a persons titles.

Couldn't have said it better myself!

Sent from my VS980 4G using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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Over the years I've tried a number of things  which I hoped would lead to survival of released smaller fish. I fish solo quite a bit so what I have ended up with is this : first I use only single hooks on all spoons (I know some folks will say yeah but they can also hook fish through the eye and it is true....sometimes) it allows me to use needle nose pliers at the side or back of the boat to grasp the stainless steel single hook with the pliers and with a quick twist of the wrist while the fish is still in or near the water I am able to release the hook without touching the fish or bringing into the boat. This I feel is essential because touching the gill area and keeping the fish out of water on the bottom of the boat or in the net is a prescription for their death. One of the things I have always wondered about the release of large fish and especially salmon is regardless of "revival" method do they actually survive? I know they may swim away after seemingly revived from the various methods but do they later die from the lactic acid build up in their system combined with the stress of fighting for their lives? I don't know the answer to this question. It may be a moot issue for mature kings  but for Atlantics and other fish it could be important. My feeling is that if I intend to release a fish I am not going to handle it any more than possible and if so will never put my hands or fingers near the gill area or hold it vertically and unsupported but like nearly everyone else I like to take and share pics of decent fish too. 

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