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Deep water walleye mortality


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I've been catching fish in 40 plus feet lately and have noticed the swim bladder has been ballooned out on those walleyes. Picked up a few eyes today and put them in a bucket of water to see if the swim bladder would return to normal size. After 45 minutes or so it was time to leave so I checked the fish and the swim bladder was still ballooned out so I kept them.

What are the chances they would have survived if I released them and they found their way back down the hole?

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Those fish will show almost 100 percent mortality. The sportsmanlike thing to do is to keep any deepwater fish you catch. Fizzing the fish kills them too, there is no good solution other than simply not fishing them that deep.

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