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Musky is a very sought after sportfish in North America. Here are some tips and tricks to help you practice more fish-friendly catch and release angling when out on your next musky fishing trip.
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  • Use a cradle net to minimize handling and keep the fish in the water while landing and unhooking as handling and prolonged air exposure is detrimental to fish.
  • When using nets for musky, ensure they are fish friendly such as rubber or knotless nylon mesh to avoid damaging to fish fins or slime layer (Barthel et al, 2003).
Section #2


  • Landing a musky should only take 30 seconds to two minutes with appropriate gear. Fighting musky leads to increased stress for the fish (Landsman et al, 2011) so any reductions in time is of benefit.
  • Rapidly removing the hook is important to musky survival after an angling event. If your hook is difficult to remove using pliers, or would cause excessive damage to the fish, cut it with a wire cutter. This is a better alternative than working out the hook for several minutes.
  • When photographing musky, minimize fish air exposure by preparing for the shot. Do not hold the fish vertically as this is damaging to the fish. Instead hold one hand under a gill plate and one under its body supporting the fish as much as possible.
  • Upon release, hold the fish loosely by the tail and under the belly until it’s ready to break away.
By following these guidelines to the best of your ability you can directly help our fisheries by returning more musky to their environment and providing more opportunity for other anglers.
Section #3

The Science Behind the Story

The information presented is based on a years of research by experts in the field. Here you can find a list of the references relevant to Musky and we encourage you to read them to learn more.

Evaluation of the physiology, behaviour, and survival of adult muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) captured and released by specialized anglers

Angling for muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) is a specialized endeavor involving species-specific equipment and handling procedures. The latter were developed by anglers with little influence from fisheries managers or the scientific community. Today, release rates approach 100% for specialized anglers; therefore, a formal evaluation of these procedures was warranted.

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Effects of landing net mesh type on injury and mortality in a freshwater recreational fishery

Landing nets used by recreational anglers can be constructed of a variety of different mesh materials. Anglers and fisheries managers have hypothesized that mesh type may affect injury rates and fish survival. To test this hypothesis, we used bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) as a model species to examine the effects of different net mesh types (rubber, knotless nylon, fine knotted nylon, coarse knotted nylon) on injury and mortality following angling at 26 ◦C.

Read at publisher's site