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Drought increases fish mortality after catch and release

Catching and releasing a fish has been common practice for 40 years, but with the drought, anglers will need to be careful to keep fish from dying.

NORTH DAKOTA — Catching and releasing a fish has been common practice for 40 years, but with the drought, anglers will need to be careful to keep fish from dying.

The North Dakota Game and Fish says the drought is causing fish to be in warm and shallow water or deep water.

Outreach Biologist Doug Leier says, when lakes are shallow and warm, fish aren't as strong and hearty.

So catching and releasing them could kill them.

Or when anglers look for deep water to fish in, brining the fish up to the surface from 30 feet or deeper can cause damage to the animal's internal organs.

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Leier wants fishers to be intentional when catching fish.

"Instead of waiting until you've caught the fish and go these might not be doing okay. Once you catch your limit, quit once you've caught a couple of fish to put in the freezer or to fry up that night, then make a conscious decision to stop," said Leier.

Leier says catch and release is normally very safe for fish - just be careful in warm or deep water.

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