Musky America Magazine December Edition

Handling & Releasing Muskies By Mark Boyette © 2001 Muskies are at the top of the freshwater food chain and have no predators accept for anglers. While these fish are tough and often very aggressive, they are very delicate out of the water. If you are new to Muskie fishing or a seasoned veteran to the sport, you owe it to the sport to educate yourself on protecting these prize fish. Please take a few moments and read the following tips on handling and releasing Muskies. When you hook a Muskie, you must quickly decide if it's a fish you wish to keep or release. Catch and release is very popular among Muskie fishermen and is a big part of why our fishery is thriving. Although there is nothing wrong with keeping a Muskie if that's what you choose to do. Fishing is a personal sport and all the decisions on your catch are entirely up to you as long as it's within the legal requirements. If you wish to return the fish to the water you must take various precautions to ensure successful release of the fish. 1. Don't over stress the fish. While you want to get the fish in for a nice photo and scale sample, fighting the fish too long can build up lactic acid in the Muskie's muscle tissue and kill the fish. This is especially true in warmer water conditions where the fish is even more susceptible. I usually fight the fish to the boat and scoop them up in the net at the first chance I get.