In the early eighties, the one and only study on the impacts of catch and release angling on muskellunge, concluded there was up to a 30% mortality rate of angled fish, likely due to the stress of the experience. Thirty years and numerous changes in tackle, fish handling techniques and angler knowledge, there was a need to re-examine the mortality rate of muskies that were caught by anglers using modern tackle and techniques. In 2009, Masters of Science candidate, Sean Landsman, undertook a field study, fondly referred to as Project Noble Beast, to determine the sub-lethal and lethal effects of the catch-and-release process using two different handling procedures (normal and gentle). The project required intense angling effort, which was carried out over the summer and fall muskellunge angling seasons in 2009 and 2010, yielding 77 muskies up to 52 inches long. Under the tutelage of Dr. Steven Cooke of Carleton University and Dr. Cory Suski of the University of Illinois, Sean collected blood samples used to assess the physiological impact of the angling process and these samples were compared to those obtained from fish sampled via electrofishing (control group baseline levels). Behaviour and survival were assessed by attaching radio transmitters to a sub-sample of 30 fish (15 per handling procedure) and tracking their movements.
Hedrik Wachelka of the Ottawa Chapter of Muskies Canada worked tirelessly with Sean to organize, fundraise and assist in angling muskies from the Ottawa and Rideau River systems. Hedriks efforts and those of the nearly two dozen other volunteers from Muskies Canada were instrumental in the completion of the project. Blood sample analysis revealed minimal physiological disturbances between handling treatments. Behaviours were similar for fish from each handling group. Perhaps most importantly, all radio-tagged fish survived the catch-and-release event making this finding of 0 percent mortality dramatically different from the 30 percent figure previously suggested for muskellunge. True zero percent mortality can never exist in a hook-and-line fishery, but muskellunge fishing mortality may indeed be negligible.
Sean has published the results of this research in Fisheries Research an International journal on fisheries science, fishing technology, and fisheries management, and is available by permission, here. Seans paper was also presented at the World Recreational Fishing Conference in Berlin, Germany in the summer of 2011 to very positive reviews. This original research will save countless muskie and other fishes lives worldwide in the future.
Major funding for this research effort was generated by Muskies Canada, various chapters of MCI, Muskies Inc, the Becker Foundation as well as support from Carleton U and various government agencies.
A full line-up of guest speakers to inform the public of muskellunge fishing techniques, projects and various other aspects related to the muskellunge fishery.
Muskies Canada is proud to announce a new partnership with Wounded Warriors Canada to host a “Fishing in the Kawarthas” weekend at Scotsman Point Cottage Resort on Buckhorn Lake.
Fishing in the Kawarthas will provide ill and injured Veterans and their families with an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors while fishing for muskellunge in the company of experienced Muskies Canada anglers. What’s more, the event will provide a relaxing environment that will allow the participants the chance for respite, reflection and the ability to reconnect with their fellow Veterans and family members.
Wounded Warriors Canada is a registered charity whose mission is to honour and support Canada’s ill and injured Canadian Armed Forces members, Veterans, First Responders and their families.
Muskies Canada is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to Muskellunge angling, research and conservation. Muskellunge, or Muskie, is Canada’s apex freshwater predator and an important sport fish in eastern Canada. Muskies Canada anglers have boats and equipment well suited to host Wounded Warriors for a great weekend on the water.
“It is with great pride that Muskies Canada entered a partnership with Wounded Warriors Canada, to spend time on the water with veterans that have given so much to their country. It not only will be an honour to spend time with these veterans but to show them that Muskies Canada acknowledges and is grateful for their sacrifices”, said Tyler Duncan, a Muskies Canada Board of Directors representative and Chair of the Upper Valley Chapter.
Wounded Warriors Canada Fishing in the Kawarthas weekend will be held at Scotsman Point Resort on Buckhorn Lake, August 25-28, 2017. Friday night feature a “Meet-and-Greet” get-together with and Saturday will be Muskie fishing day, teaming participants with Muskies Canada members.
Phil Ralph, National Program Director for Wounded Warriors Canada, commented, “We continue to witness first-hand the benefits of recreational programs that bring together Veterans and their families. We are proud to partner with Muskies Canada and Scotsman Point Resort on what will be a great annual event that provides our participants with important respite and the opportunity to reflect and reconnect.”
Scotsman Point Cottage Resort is a sponsor/supporter in the event and is donating accommodation for the Wounded Warriors Canada participants. “All of us at Scotsman Point Resort are very proud and honoured for the opportunity to provide the most courageous of Canadian citizens some well deserved relaxation and fun. We are looking forward to continuing our relationship with all of the partners involved in this memorable event”, said Leslie Clarkson, General Manager of Scotsman Point Resort.
For more information, please see:
Scotsman Point Resort