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When catching and releasing walleye, keep in mind the following points to maximize their chances of survival upon release:
Section #1


  • Use debarbed single hooks and artificial lures to minimize damage to walleye (Payer et al, 1989).
  • Use appropriate rods, reels, and line to minimize time spent fighting fish as longer fight time is linked to lower post-release survival.
  • Use landing nets with rubber netting or fine knotless nylon.
Section #2


  • Unhook walleye as rapidly as possible and keep the fish in the water or at least dripping wet during the process in order to avoid unnecessary stress and damage.
  • Cradle walleye in both hands with one just behind the head and one further back towards the tail – with this hold, the fish is well supported and is less likely to be damaged.
  • Photograph walleye in water if possible as this is least damaging. If the fish has to be removed for the shot reduce its air exposure time as much as possible as this is shown to be highly detrimental to walleye (Killen et al, 2006).
  • When releasing walleye gently lower into the water and let the fish swim away on its own.
By following these guidelines to the best of your ability you can directly help our fisheries by returning more walleye 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 Walleye and we encourage you to read them to learn more.

Hooking mortality of walleyes caught on live and artificial baits

Abstract.—The potential benefits of catch and release or protective size limits in recreationalfisheries for walleye Stizostedion vitreum can only be realized if released fish survive. In this study,hooking mortality rates were determined for adult walleyes caught on leeches and artificial luresin two Minnesota ponds.

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Factors contributing to the physiological disturbance in walleyes during simulated live-release angling tournaments

The goal of the current study was to examine the physiological disturbances in walleyes Sander vitreus that occurred during the different phases of a live-release angling tournament. To achieve this, we took blood and white muscle samples from walleyes during experiments that simulated different aspects of a live-release tournament (angling, live-well confinement, and weigh-in procedure).

Read at publisher's site