Even Catch and Release is Currently Quite Deadly for Montana Walleye
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wants to remind anglers that even catch and release fishing requires extra effort this time of year.
As water temperatures increase, mortality associated with catch and release also increases. In the case of walleye, a North American Journal of Fisheries Management study found that walleye catch and release mortality rates rose from 0 - 1.8% when water temperatures were below 68 degrees, to nearly 16% when water temperatures were above 68 degrees.
Fish that are played for extended periods of time, handled excessively or stored in live wells are obviously more susceptible to dying even if catch and release is the intent. Montana FWP encourages you to:
Fight and land the fish as quickly as possible.
Keep it in the water.
Remove hooks as gently as possible.
Be really fast with the photo ops - have that camera or phone ready for pictures.
This is all pretty common-sense stuff to an avid angler. But it's not a bad little reminder checklist. It is a sick feeling to see that fish you caught and then released floating lifelessly on the surface. Good fishing, everyone.