NEBRASKAland July 2018

NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 51 of 59

52 NEBRASKAland • JULY 2018 Handling Summer Fish By Daryl Bauer W ater temperatures on some of our Nebraska waters can rise as high as in the 80s during the peak of our summer heat waves. Depending on the waterbody, these high water temperatures can be stressful to some fish, including cool water species such as northern pike, muskellunge and wipers – especially large wipers. Additional stress from being hooked, fought, and landed by an angler – especially if the fish is played too long and not handled correctly – can be enough to kill the fish. If you are fishing any Nebraska waters right now for pike, muskies or wipers, be careful about handling those fish if you plan on releasing them. First of all, these fish need to be played and landed as quickly as possible. Catching and releasing big fish on light lines might prove your prowess as an angler, but I would consider it to be very poor form during the heat of the summer. The longer they are played, the more likely the stress will be too much. That goes double after those fish are landed. If they are going to be released, then they need to be released as soon as possible – no time out of the water, no time fooling around removing hooks and no time for pictures. A few years ago, I caught one of the biggest wipers of my life. Because it absolutely ate the bait, I immediately unhooked the fish and released it without a photograph. I knew it couldn't withstand more handling. In fact, I will go even further to suggest that you avoid fishing for pike, muskies or big wipers on some Nebraska waters this time of year. If you intend to catch and release these fish, wait until the water cools down to at least the low 70s to fish. The fish will be just as catchable, if not more so then, and they will be a lot less stressed. Until then, be prepared to immediately handle and release a big toothy fish with gear such as an over- sized landing net, gloves, pliers, jaw spreaders and hook cutters, so these trophies can be released as quickly as they were caught. ■ PHOTO BY JEFF KURRUS FISH ART BY JOE TOMELLERI Coolwater fish species take a special level of care when caught and released during the dog days. MUSKELLUNGE (Esox masquinongy) NORTHERN PIKE (Esox lucius) WIPER (Morone chrysops x Morone saxa- tilis) During the dog days of summer, be prepared to handle and release coolwater fish quickly with an over- sized landing net, gloves, pliers, jaw spreaders and hook cutters.

Articles in this issue

view archives of Nebraskaland - NEBRASKAland July 2018