Very interesting read on hooking mortality rates [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Very interesting read on hooking mortality rates

05-21-2004, 12:46 PM
The following is a cut/paste from our Southern Oregon (State of Jefferson) Fly fishing board. Good Read. The web address at the bottom takes you to the full report.
You might want to take a look at the paper linked below for an excellent evaluation of the B.C. studies related to hook mortality and steelhead. It was prepared by the provincial Senior Fisheries Operations Specialist, Bob Hooton, and it reviews and summarizes the available data up through 2001.

Of particular note is the following conclusion:

"Observed differences between hooking mortality rates for bait fishing versus artificial lure or fly fishing relate to the incidence of hooks penetrating critical anatomical locations. Angling with bait consistently produces the highest frequencies of hooking fish deep inside the mouth where rupture of blood vessels (gill structures and heart) and puncture of the esophagus is common. Such injuries commonly result in severe bleeding that, in turn, produces high mortality. Artificial lures result in consistently lower hooking injury and mortality rates, and flies consistently the lowest rates because fish are almost always hooked on the periphery of the mouth or in the jaws where blood vessels are not contacted. All else being equal the number of fish injured or killed by bait angling will exceed the number injured or killed by artificial lure angling by a significant margin and the number injured or killed by fly angling by a much greater margin."

Also of particular import for discussions involving the Upper Rogue is the following comment:

"In contrast to the relative scarcity of data directly applicable to mortality by gear type in freshwater anadromous fisheries there is an abundance of data on resident salmonids. A consistent pattern is readily apparent. Specifically, resident fish caught on bait experience significantly higher mortality than those caught on artificial lures or flies."

This last comment is important with regard to the Upper Rogue because of the unique nature of the summer steelhead that return to the river. That is, they are renown for their trout-like behavior and willingness to feed. As such, they are more likely to be susceptible to the dangers encountered by resident salmonids, i.e., trout, in the studies cited than other strains of steelhead that are not known to be aggressive feeders, i.e., most other populations of summer steelhead.