Green Bay walleye tournament keeps fish alive with catch-record-release policy

By on August 13, 2014
Toothy walleye (Credit: OakleyOriginals, via Flickr)

Very few walleye were hurt or killed during the Anglers Insight Marketing Pro Team Challenge tournament on Green Bay in late July, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The achievement was due to a catch-record-release policy that is standard in all AIM tournaments.

The process is fairly straightforward. After a fish is caught, it is unhooked and placed on a measuring board to take its weight and length. A quick photo is taken, and then the fish is released back into the water.

Typical fishing tournaments still bring fish onshore for weigh-ins and awarding prizes. The fish mortality resulting from those actions has many in the sport calling for a change. A study from the State University of New York – Plattsburgh looking at the effects of fishing tournaments on Lake Champlain bass found that in large tournaments where around 2,000 fish are caught, as many as 100 fish might die during and after release alone.

A researcher from the study said that sort of loss, when compared to the thousands of fish caught during large tournaments, is probably sustainable. Still, anglers agreed there was no need for such high mortality numbers for Green Bay walleye and many supported the AIM tournament’s policy.

“It’s been open arms,” said Tom Kemos, an angler in the tournament and an AIM board member, in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “There is none of the negativity associated with most tournaments.”

John Schneider and Nick Schertz won the  Pro Team Challenge on Green Bay with a three-day total of 111.97 pounds.

Image: Toothy walleye (Credit: OakleyOriginals, via Flickr)

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