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captpierre

2 dead Muskie at the dock.

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Today I find 2 dead skis floating to shore. Approximately a 40 and a 36 inches. 1 hr apart. Not decomposed. Looked normal. 

Likely from foul hooking or poor landing and handling.  Hopefully not a disease. 

Need to handle these guys with care. Especially in warm water. Quick release  

Happened to me last week. Caught one jigging for eyes. 10 lb braid line. No steel leader. Just 12 lb fluorocarbon leader.  No Muskie net. Took too long to land. Had the jig deep but got it out no problem. She thrashed and I dropped her in the boat. Live release after tail hold. Swam off but stayed on the surface for quite a while. Hope she survived. 

I should always have a Muskie net on board. 

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Everyone that's on a forum like this knows the muskie technique.  The problem are the cottage rentals that come up for a few days or a week or two.  They go jigging for fish with the kids and end up hooking a muskie and don't know the do's and don'ts. 

1) This happened to an acquaintance of mine just 2 weeks ago.  He was at a rental for the week on Lower Buckhorn and sure enough out fishing with his two young kids he hooked a muskie.  He said he got it to the boat but didn't know what to do.  He said there was a seasoned angler close by that came over to his rental boat and helped.  In this case I expect it ended OK for the muskie. He said he learned about holding it for recovery/rest time, etc.

2) I know a cottage resort owner and once I witnessed (it was after the fact) the weekly rentals catching a muskie and bringing it back to show everyone, handling it wrong, out of the water too long for pics, etc.  The resort owner showed me the dead muskie from their shoreline (it floated back not long after it was released) and it was huge.  Very sad.  He told me it happens from time to time.  :(

The 'cidiots' (some call them) are clueless to how delicate the monster of the lake is once it has been caught and handled.  I think more education for the short stay vacationers would help.

Edited by KawarthaAngler

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Ive been fishing with some "muskies canada" guys and they bloody didnt even know how to properly handle the fish. I was lucky enough to learn from Pete Hoffman. Proper release takes the right tools (hook cutters, a huge net, jaw spreaders that dont puncture, and the ability to work in the water with the fish for hook removal and recovery before you take photos)

You can almost guarantee that in this heat, weekend worm fisherman are killing musky all of the time. 

The classic technique for anyone that doesnt know what the heck they are doing is to catch a big fish on way too light of gear, fight it for half an hour, then net the thing in too small of a net, throw it in the boat. High five, sit and take a break, search for your pliers, unhook the fish, take another break, then pick the fish up, look for your phone/camera, then take a bunch of photos and then throw the fish into the water and hope that it survives. I see it all of the time while walleye fishing in the fall. Guys keeping walleye out of the water for 5 minutes while they complete their "release process"

To expect everyone to keep a musky net in the boat is a bit much, but at a minimum everyone should learn how to gill plate grab fish so that they can effectively land huge fish in the absence of an appropriately sized net. Ive landed multiple large pike this way. luckily every time ive landed a musky ive had the right net in the boat.

 

 

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What does the law require??? Keeping a muskie net in the boat at all times?? hardly. teaching people that MIGHT accidentally hook a musky once in their life how to pick one up by the gill plate?? LOL Give them a free first aid kit as well. 

The law says if you buy a licence you get to fish and follow the rules. There's no rules about what to do if a musky eats your 2" walleye bait. People do the best they can under the current structure. When and if fishing licences ever go to requiring a course (such as hunting), then these extra measures can possibly be implemented. If you're out jigging for walleye and hook up on a musky with your 6lb line, instead of thinking about how to net it or pick it up, DON'T LAND IT. Point the rod at the fish and break it off. Your knot is the weakest point.

Getting back to the Op's topic, since we have no real proof of what killed those fish, blaming cottagers, renters, campers or whoever is premature and unfair. I've seen "pros" do some stupid filtered try again please too.

 

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youll notice the fact that I said ive literally fished with members of muskies canada that didnt know what the hell they were doing either.

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It's tough seeing an older fish floating dead in the lake, seems a waste. There are so many reasons that could come into play, sometimes we just have to accept that this will happen at times. I personally avoid fishing for muskie in this kind of weather, but can't avoid the incidentals while targeting other species.

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8 hours ago, AKRISONER said:

youll notice the fact that I said ive literally fished with members of muskies canada that didnt know what the hell they were doing either.

Just like the Ontario fishing License, we don't have a test you must pass before joining Muskies Canada...Not all our members are 'experts'. I'm certainly not. Though I do pride myself on being a good fish handler, and not just Muskies!

Edited by Pigeontroller

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Its hot. Fish die. It happens. Could have been anglers, could have been anything. 

There are scientific reports that say good fish handling is far more superior to water temps. I know of one musky I killed with a deep hook, and there was nothing I could do about it. It was a small fish, deep hooked right in the gills. What can you do?  Have all my other muskies released fine? As far as I know, yes, but who really knows?? I see a lot more people fishing muskies these days, so there has to be more rookies, and instagram stars more concerned with social media likes than the fishes well being. Mine don't leave the net. Unless its a big one, I rarely even take a pic.  My musky net doesn't leave the boat, and I don't fish bass at all. 

 

S. 

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fish die. we don't even net many fish. shake the hooks boatside helps a whole lot. too many pictures of folks that just have to have that photo..while we love muskies remember a person is entitled to keep a fish in most waters. its not my cup of tea,but some do eat them.

 

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Agree with the above statements S happens and there's nothing you can do about it. I myself have unintentionally hooked a musky in the gills and when I got it into the net there was nothing I could do but try to unhook it. Nearly swallowed my medusa from behind. I tried to revive it for a while but there was nothing I could do.

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15 hours ago, outllaw said:

fish die. we don't even net many fish. shake the hooks boatside helps a whole lot. too many pictures of folks that just have to have that photo..while we love muskies remember a person is entitled to keep a fish in most waters. its not my cup of tea,but some do eat them.

 

I have a hard time understanding someone wanting to eat a 20 year old fish now that we have those higher size limits.  I remember many people eating them when the size limit was 28" or 32". You are correct though; I have seen people keep a 45" fish to eat.

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59 minutes ago, jimmer said:

I have a hard time understanding someone wanting to eat a 20 year old fish now that we have those higher size limits.  I remember many people eating them when the size limit was 28" or 32". You are correct though; I have seen people keep a 45" fish to eat.

Slot limit for eating sized fish ??

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2 minutes ago, dave524 said:

Slot limit for eating sized fish ??

Are you asking if there is one? or if adding one would be a good idea?

That would go against the reason for the higher size limit.  My understanding is that they want all muskie to reach breeding size and spawn before they can be kept.

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6 minutes ago, jimmer said:

Are you asking if there is one? or if adding one would be a good idea?

That would go against the reason for the higher size limit.  My understanding is that they want all muskie to reach breeding size and spawn before they can be kept.

It would be a good idea,  hunting and fishing are only morally justified by being able to consume what you legally caught. 

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17 minutes ago, dave524 said:

It would be a good idea,  hunting and fishing are only morally justified by being able to consume what you legally caught. 

that is the foundation of the two sports - hunt and fish for food.

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Are Musky an endangered species? We seem to hold them in a higher status than others for some reason, including myself. All fish should be respected including the ones that give us nourishment. 

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37 minutes ago, Old Ironmaker said:

Are Musky an endangered species? We seem to hold them in a higher status than others for some reason, including myself. All fish should be respected including the ones that give us nourishment. 

You could say they are in some bodies of water where pike are moving in and the muskie can't handle the competition.

I agree, the whole resource should be respected if we want to enjoy fishing in the future.

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iron i think naturally musky populations are lower simply due to the biomass required in order to sustain them.

Its easy for a lake to provide enough food to support 1000 Blue gills, but it takes a heck of a lot more resources to support one 45+ inch musky. Hence they are indeed far rarer than many other fish.

The main thing though is that fish of that size and strength are extremely vulnerable to over exertion and lactic acid buildup which causes them to die if mishandled. Meanwhile a snot rocket pike can be kept out of the water for a day and then thrown back in the lake and swim away like nothing happened. Heck ive seen walleye out of cold water still fighting while in the frying pan.

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Musky, amongst other fish available in most aquatic systems, are generally low density fish in terms of population.  When one goes belly up it puts a more considerable dent in the native population than a more abundant species in the same system. Down the road there's one less fish in a handful that has a chance to breed.  Increasing loss of breeding areas, later spawn season and competition with other yearlings in the same spawning areas results in low yield returns when in comes to reproducing muskies naturally in a system.  On my "home" lake in the Kawartha's which has been overrun by pike the last two decades they've become even more rare. I'm catching more tigers, but they cannot re-produce.  Kudos to organizations like Muskies Inc. that teach best practices in angling and handling, habitat restoration and stocking programs...at the very least they take the time to get the message out there.

That said, even to the most experienced angler, they go belly up. Even to the un-experienced angler, maybe fighting one accidently caught on their panfish setup will lead them to read more and learn about their fragility.  All in all, we're on a better trajectory now in conservation than there has been in the past.  Don't see folks taking photos with a shoreline lined with 30 muskies like they used to.  Hell, nothings perfect but we're going the right way IMHO.

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1 hour ago, AKRISONER said:

 

The main thing though is that fish of that size and strength are extremely vulnerable to over exertion and lactic acid buildup which causes them to die if mishandled. 

Excellent analogy Akri. I'm exactly 57 pounds lighter than I was when in my 20's but playing ball and training up to 6 days a week. It was a chore carrying all that weight. 

Jimmer and Reef Runner, very well said. 

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1 hour ago, Reef Runner said:

Musky, amongst other fish available in most aquatic systems, are generally low density fish in terms of population.  When one goes belly up it puts a more considerable dent in the native population than a more abundant species in the same system. Down the road there's one less fish in a handful that has a chance to breed.  Increasing loss of breeding areas, later spawn season and competition with other yearlings in the same spawning areas results in low yield returns when in comes to reproducing muskies naturally in a system.  On my "home" lake in the Kawartha's which has been overrun by pike the last two decades they've become even more rare. I'm catching more tigers, but they cannot re-produce.  Kudos to organizations like Muskies Inc. that teach best practices in angling and handling, habitat restoration and stocking programs...at the very least they take the time to get the message out there.

That said, even to the most experienced angler, they go belly up. Even to the un-experienced angler, maybe fighting one accidently caught on their panfish setup will lead them to read more and learn about their fragility.  All in all, we're on a better trajectory now in conservation than there has been in the past.  Don't see folks taking photos with a shoreline lined with 30 muskies like they used to.  Hell, nothings perfect but we're going the right way IMHO.

Well said. I assume your compliments were directed at Muskies Canada, also known as MCI or Muskies Canada Inc.

Muskies Inc. is the American version.

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