An Important Message from Jack
Catch and release is more important now than it ever was. The reason? There are more fishermen now than there ever have been.
Both muskies and big pike are a low density population fish. Because they sit on top of the food chain, naturally there are fewer of them than species that are lower on the totem pole.
Consider this: Let's say you just caught a very large pike or muskie. Unless you are on virgin waters, chances are very great that the fish has been caught before. And if that angler had not released that fish, you would have never experienced the thrill of catching it.
Here is a perfect example that happened to us in 2010. On the third week of June, Mary and I pulled our boat to Clearwater Lake, just north of Emo, Ontario. During the week, Vince Pennarun, who owns Clearwater Lodge, went out with me early one morning and caught a 50-inch muskie, his biggest ever! After fishing there for 5 days, Mary and I left our boat there and drove to Winnipeg to fly out to Wollaston Lake Lodge in Saskatchewan for a go at big pike (a story for another day). Leaving there, we flew back to Winnipeg, got our truck and drove back to our boat and Clearwater Lodge. On July 10, Mary and I were on the water casting for muskie when it happened. Mary, casting a Top Raider, had an explosive strike. It looked like someone dropped a telephone pole in the water with spray flying everywhere!
After a great fight, Mary guided it into the Frabill net. While removing the hooks, I noticed something familiar about this great fish. It had a damaged, but healed over pectoral fin. This was the very same fish Vince had caught nearly three weeks earlier! And if Vince had not taken good care of this monster and successfully released it, Mary would not have got to experience the thrill of catching it. And of course, Mary released it to fight another day.
One very important thing to remember is that catch and release is only successful if the fish survives. Big pike and muskies are actually more fragile than smaller members of their species, and care must be used when handling them.
Below, I'm including a document written by John Underhill of Minnesota. John is a warrior when it comes to fighting for protection of big pike and muskies in his state, following in the footprints of guys like Jack Burns, Steve Voight, and others who were at the forefront of the battle to improve pike and muskie fishing everywhere. In this document, John explains not only the importance, but how to handle large fish so they can live to fight another day.
Click here to check out John's article.