©2009 - Ontario Federation of Anglers & Hunters - All Rights Reserved
Muskie Catch and Release Tips:
Use Proper Tackle
Heavy action rods and reels, strong line, and high quality snaps, swivels, split rings, leaders, and hooks are recommended when fishing for larger fish such as Muskie or Northern Pike. This equipment will allow you to land your fish in a reasonable amount of time without putting stress on the fish.
Have your equipment ready
Be prepared ahead of time so that you can minimize the time you play the fish. Landing a larger fish, such as a Muskie or Northern Pike, include the use of a cradle or a large net. When you land the fish remember to keep your hands clear of the fishes mouth as Muskie and Northern Pike have very sharp teeth. The use of needle-nose pliers (for hook removal), jaw spreaders, and small compound bolt cutters (for cutting hooks if deeply embedded, or hooked near sensitive areas like the eyes, gills, or undersides) are recommended.
Keep the floor of your boat clear of clutter. This will help to avoid many potential accidents as well as give you plenty of room to land that trophy fish! Remember to practice proper release and resuscitation techniques. Always remember to minimize the time the fish is out of the water. If possible, remove the hooks and take your measurements while the fish is still in the water. Also make sure to have your camera and tape measure readily available to reduce the time the fish is out of the water.
Reviving your Catch Before it is Released
Always revive the fish before letting it go. Sometimes the fish will swim away instantaneous, and sometimes the revival can take up to 10 minutes or more. Remember to be patient. Hold the fish by the tail section before with one hand, while using your other hand to gently balance the fish under itís belly. This method will give the fish additional support. Gently move the fish back and forth to insure that the gill covers are moving softly. When the fish is strong enough to wriggle away and stay upright, you may release the fish.
Consider Release Conditions
Particularly shallow areas, water temperatures can reach the high 70ís to low 80ís. With water temperatures this high, muskie and Northern Pike are subject to high rates of mortality due to angling stress. In these situations reduce stress factors by reducing "fight time" to the absolute minimum. The captured fish should not be boated, practice water release and handling only, photograph the fish in the water,ensure proper resuscitation, and stay with the fish until itís fully recovered.
Photographing / Lifting the Fish
Never lift a Muskie or Northern Pike vertically by its jaw. This has the potential of causing severe injury to the fishes internal organs. When lifting for a photo, always do so horizontally using your other hand to support it under its belly. Remember to limit the time the fish is out of the water so have the camera and tape measure readily available.
If you catch a Muskie 36 inches or bigger you can enter the Muskie in the and a certificate will be mailed to you. The Angler awards are sponsored by the