Wally Finn

I was talking last week about how the water temperature is rising fast. This means it is essential to speed up your fish handling process. It is very common for the post mortality percentage (died after release) to go up proportionate to the water temps. It will peak with the hottest point of summer but also is proportionate to angling pressure as well. Right now, even though the water temps are not at their peak yet, the angling pressure is extensive and will result in more post-mortality fish than in August when the water will be even warmer and there will generally be less anglers.

Anglers should be conscious not to over handle fish to be released as it’s even more stressful during the hot temperatures of summer. Don’t drop us on the floor of the boat in the net; leave us over the side in the net. Carpet is very bad because it removes the protective slime from us fish and opens us up to diseases – and makes your boat smelly. And as much as we like our picture taken, maybe try to refrain from taking so many and get us back in the water a little quicker. Also, if we happen to swallow your hook, don’t try to remove it, please just cut the line.

I watched an angler the other day who didn’t even use a net. He just reached over the side and picked the fish up, unhooked it and let it go. He caught a lot. This technique is way faster then using a net. And it’s much better on us fish. And your rig (and fish) don’t get all tangled up. So please be gentle with us here in Mille Lacs Lake. We don’t need any more white bellies floating around out there.

Loose lines and tight lips,

Wally

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