Delayed Mortality on Released Summertime Hybrids?
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Posted on Sunday Aug 4, 2013 at 12:56 PM  
An observation and a question - for about a two month period(June and July) three years ago on Kaw Lake there were about four boats fishing a huge school of hybrid striped bass,(with even an occasional striper mixed in) I found these fish(after asking about your netting sampling) and basically was fishing them alone for the first month, average size of these fish was 9-14# - they stayed in a 1/4 acre area near the dam. I guess our "average" day with three people in each boat was over fourty fish per trip, all caught and released -

The following year we had extreme drought/high temps and Bill Wentroth told me that average PPM O2 top to bottom over the entire lake was less than 3PPM.

The following two years the fish quit showing up at all in this area - we have done a pretty thorough search of the lake in likely spots but only a very limited number of fish over 5# have shown up - I was picking Kaw to be the next record hybrid lake but now not so sure

I was talking with my co - conspirators in that slaughter and told them I thought we were our own worst enemies - that I think the majority of those released fish died --

any thoughts on that assumption?

In the interim over three years the gates have not opened so I don't think they left the lake otherwise --





Those who would give up constitutional freedoms to elected officials in exchange for a false sense of security, deserve neither freedom or security.
Posted on Monday Aug 5, 2013 at 8:21 AM  
Tony, I think with dissolved oxygen levels near 3 ppm plus the stress of fighting a fish to the boat, many of those fish probably did die within the next several days after being caught and released.  Especially if you are bringing them up from deep water and adding a pressure/air bladder stress to the other stresses.  But I think the numbers game is also catching up to you...simply the fact that most of those big fish you were catching were from the first and second year of stocking Kaw for my project.  Once those hybrids reach five or six years old many environmental variables start to catch up to them and there are so few left in the population after the total sum of causes for mortality are all added up (angler harvest, delayed hooking, disease/parasites, years of temp DO squeeze, etc.).  And I do agree that very few hybrids left the lake during those drought years. 

The delayed mortality issue for morones is also why ODWC has a no-cull rule for those species.
Posted on Monday Aug 5, 2013 at 10:18 AM  
Thanks Kuk - guess I will start taking up golf in summer
Those who would give up constitutional freedoms to elected officials in exchange for a false sense of security, deserve neither freedom or security.
Posted on Monday Aug 5, 2013 at 9:54 PM  
 Tony, I remember the posts of those fish being caught back then. This is some very good info put out there for sure. Thanks to both of ya!
 But, Tony please do not take up golf, go snag or bow fish some gar or anything but golf
Posted on Tuesday Aug 6, 2013 at 9:22 AM  
Not to worry Ed - I always knew Striped Bass didn't stand much of a chance for C&R in waters over 80 degrees,(which is why I won't fish locally for them in summer squeeze months) but I assumed that hybrid vigor would work well with C&R of double digit hybrids even in summer -- there is lots of supporting research on delayed mortality for pure Striped Bass - and not any that I know of which supports or refutes my "assumption" that hybrids fare better or worse. Might be an interesting study to contrast the two --

On another note if you really want any fish to survive being caught - NEVER lift them from the water and be quick in unhooking - you have seen what shad do when moved from your cooler bait tank and dropped into 88 degree summer water - the reverse happens to the fish you just brought up - they are generally surfing along around the coolest water they can find (20-40' in most summer situations) usually below 70 degrees then you bring them along up thru 12' or so of bath warm water as they fight on, they build up huge amounts of lactic acid in muscle tissues, along with rapid sudden temperature change shocks the gamefish -

I've seen Striper over twenty pounds make one long run and just drop dead on southern warm water impoundments -- I want to feel good and honor that fish I just caught and hopefully leave for someone else to catch - but I am learning you might as well keep any you hook in Summer -

I have contributed way too much to decimating populations of bigger fish in my lifetime - C&R does indeed work - but only when lakes are not stratified and water temps are 70 or below --
Those who would give up constitutional freedoms to elected officials in exchange for a false sense of security, deserve neither freedom or security.
Posted on Tuesday Aug 6, 2013 at 9:40 AM  
Can we expand this conversation to Arkansas River fish?  I'm assuming the biggest striper I've personally hooked has been under 10 lbs, though it's been a month or so.  What are their chances after C & R?  Definitely not bring them up from deep water.
Posted on Tuesday Aug 6, 2013 at 11:27 AM  
Only from anecdotal observation - its my belief that Striped Bass in flowing rivers fare much better overall than do Striper brought up out of cool thermoclines - what you will find is that the larger striper congregate in the coolest river water available and basically cease to feed if they can't find water cooler than 75 degrees - the smaller fish (up to 10#) do fare better and feed more in warmer months - a prolonged battle with even smaller fish and you really just as well keep them in July, Aug, September

Like any athlete prolonged exercise and a dearth of O2 produces lactic acid build up in muscle tissue, especially in warm water months - this and infection due to stress is what eventually kills released Striped Bass - I worked with experimental holding and resting tubes when I was part of the National Striped Bass Association, as a way to justify C&R of tournament held Striper,  the truth is that holding and resting a caught Striped Bass in highly oxygenated water has some merit, but as a tool is impractial aboard sport fishing boats - and it does work but ONLY from November to March in most Southern States - the longer you battle any fish, the odds of survival and recovery are in cool months about 60/40, in hot months 20/80 - tourney Largemouth over 5# suffer the same fates too - lots of variables, such as handling, hook locations, thermal shock, bleeding, water temps etc -

Kuk can expand more on this from the scientific biology perspective
Those who would give up constitutional freedoms to elected officials in exchange for a false sense of security, deserve neither freedom or security.
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