Factors associated with initial mortality of Walleye and Sauger caught in live-release tournaments

North American Journal of Fisheries Management
By: , and 

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Abstract

We measured the initial mortality (fish judged nonreleasable at weigh-in), prerelease mortality (fish judged nonreleasable 1–2 h after weigh-in [which includes initial mortality]), and postrelease mortality (fish that died during a 5-d retention in net-pens) in 14 live-release tournaments for walleye Sander vitreus conducted in April–October 2006 and April–July 2007 in lakes and rivers in Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Among the 14 events, initial mortality was 0–28%, prerelease mortality was 3–54%, and postrelease mortality was 0–100%; the mortality of reference fish (walleyes ≥31 cm long that were captured by electrofishing and held in net-pens with tournament-caught walleyes to measure postrelease mortality) was 0–97%. Mortality was generally low in events conducted when water temperatures were below 14°C but substantially higher in events when water temperatures were above 18°C. The mortality of reference fish suggests that capture by electrofishing and minimal handling when the water temperature exceeds 19°C results in high mortality of walleyes that is largely the result of the thermal conditions immediately after capture. Mortality was not related to the size of the tournaments (number of boats), the total number or weight of walleyes weighed in, or the mean number or weight of walleyes weighed in per boat. Mortality was positively related to the depth at which walleyes were caught and the live-well temperature and negatively related to the live-well dissolved oxygen concentration. Surface water temperature was the best predictor of mortality, and models were developed to predict the probability of prerelease and postrelease mortality of 10, 20, and 30% or less of tournament-caught walleyes due to water temperature.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Factors associated with initial mortality of Walleye and Sauger caught in live-release tournaments
Series title North American Journal of Fisheries Management
DOI 10.1577/M09-003.1
Volume 30
Issue 1
Year Published 2010
Language English
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Leetown
Description 16 p.
First page 238
Last page 253
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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