Authors
  • Bower, Shannon D.
  • Kooner, Himrat
  • Ludwig, Hannah
  • Lumb, Scott
  • Raina, Jagmeet
  • Webb, Jenna
  • Zrini, Zoe
  • O‘Connor, Constance M.
  • Cooke, Steven J.
Universities

Summary

The increasing popularity of catch-and-release angling indicates a need to identify best practices that minimize sublethal injuries, impairments, and mortality. One factor impacting the viability of catch and release is the risk of hooking injury, which can impact survival in released fishes. In particular, deep hooking is known to increase post-release mortality in numerous species. As such, best practices include the use of equipment and promotion of angler behaviors that reduce incidences of deep hooking. In some areas, angling at night is restricted because of concerns that deep hooking is elevated relative to angling during the day. However, there has been little empirical research investigating whether deep hooking is influenced by the time of day (light levels). In the present study, we captured bluegill (Lepomis macrochirusRafinesque, 1810) and pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus Linnaeus, 1758) using active angling (cast and retrieve) and passive angling (with a bobber) throughout the 24-hr period, and recorded hook depth and hook location for each fish. We found that passive angling methods resulted in deeper hooking than active angling methods for both bluegill and pumpkinseed across all time periods. Although few pumpkinseed were caught at night, we found that the pumpkinseed caught were hooked more deeply and in more damaging hooking locations at night relative to the day. Hooking injury was independent of diel period for the more frequently landed species, bluegill. These findings emphasize the species-specific nature of catch-and-release outcomes, and suggest that further research is warranted to adequately quantify the impacts of recreational fishing at night.

Methodology

In the present study, we captured bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus Rafinesque, 1810) and pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus Linnaeus, 1758) using active angling (cast and retrieve) and passive angling (with a bobber) throughout the 24-hr period, and recorded hook depth and hook location for each fish.

Location