Catch and Release Mortality of Striped Bass Caught with Artificial Lures and Baits

Mortality of striped bass <20 inches total length (50.8 cm) captured by hook and line was investigated. Both artificial lures and baits were used with single and treble hooks. A control group of fish was captured by electrofishing and handled in a similar fashion. Fish (N = 683) were caught from a freshwater river and a small reservoir during 4 different months of the year (October, February, June, and August). After capture, test fish were transported to holding ponds and held 2 weeks to evaluate total (pre- and post-release) mortality. No fish died prior to release in the holding facilities. There were no significant differences in mortality between any of the groups comparing month and method of capture. Likewise, there were no significant monthly differences between treatments. There were significant differences within treatments for different months when compared separately. Highest mortality occurred during June and August samples respectively for all groups including controls. Mortality associated with catch and release of striped bass <20 inches (50.8 cm) total length may be more a function of combined stress of temperature and hooking/handling stress than hooking stress alone.

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