Effects of summer air exposure on the survival of caught-and-released salmonids

North American Journal of Fisheries Management
By: , and 



Despite the success of catch‐and‐release regulations, exposing fish to air during release has emerged as a growing concern over the past two decades. We evaluated the effect of air exposure during midsummer on survival of Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Oncorhynchus clarkii bouvieri, Bull Trout Salvelinus confluentus, and Rainbow Trout O. mykiss exposed to catch‐and‐release angling. Fish were sampled by angling on Palisades Creek (August 2016), Sawmill Creek, and the Main Fork of the Little Lost River, Idaho (July−August 2017). After capture, fish were kept underwater while they were measured and individually tagged. Anglers, in groups of two to four, caught study fish and gave them an air exposure treatment of 0, 30, or 60 s. Single‐pass backpack electrofishing was then used to recapture tagged fish and estimate relative survival. In total, 328 Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout were sampled (0 s: n = 110; 30 s: n = 110; 60 s: n = 108), 278 Bull Trout (0 s: n = 92; 30 s: n = 94; 60 s: n = 92), and 322 Rainbow Trout (0 s: n = 103; 30 s: n = 106; 60 s: n = 113). The majority of fish were caught using artificial flies (≥92%) and were hooked in the corner of the mouth, lower jaw, or upper jaw (≥78%) in all three species. No difference in survival was observed among air exposure treatments for all three species. Results from the present study along with those from prior field studies of air exposure times during angling suggest that mortality from exposing fish to air for ≤60 s is not likely a population‐level concern in catch‐and‐release fisheries for these species.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Effects of summer air exposure on the survival of caught-and-released salmonids
Series title North American Journal of Fisheries Management
DOI 10.1002/nafm.10184
Volume 38
Issue 4
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher American Fisheries Society
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Seattle
Description 10 p.
First page 886
Last page 895
Country United States
State Idaho
Other Geospatial Palisades Creek; Sawmill Creek; Little Lost River
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