The objective of catch-and-release angling is for the fish to survive with minimal fitness consequences. However, fish survival can be compromised by a number of factors, especially anatomical hooking location. To evaluate whether hook type or bait influence hooking outcomes, we tested different combinations of hook (treble or single siwash hooks) and bait (hook tipped with worm or no worm) while angling for brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) with inline spinner-style fishing lures. The study was conducted at spring water temperatures (∼20 °C) in small lakes stocked with trout in southwestern Quebec, Canada. Incidences of hooking in the interior of the mouth (i.e. internal hooking) were uncommon (19%), did not differ significantly between hook types or bait treatments, and occurred independently of fish size. Reflex impairments after hook removal were not related to hook or bait treatment. Short-term mortality was quantified with 24 h holding in net pens and was determined to be infrequent for all treatment groups (treble/worm: 6%; treble/no worm: 5%; single/worm: 2%; single/no worm: 0%). Although no fish were hooked in the gills, esophagus, stomach, odds of mortality increased by 14.21 when fish were hooked internally, which is consistent with the position that hook placement is an important predictor of the fate of fish released by anglers. However, our finding that neither hook nor bait type significantly increased the odds of internal hooking, bleeding, reflex impairment, or mortality in this study suggests that restrictions imposed on the use of baited lures or certain hook types attached to lures when fishing may have little influence on short-term catch-and-release mortality of brook trout at these temperatures.

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Keywords Critical hooking, Live bait, Recreational angling, Treble hook
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Journal Fisheries Research
Kerr, S.M. (Samantha M.), Ward, T.D. (Taylor D.), Lennox, R.J. (Robert J.), Brownscombe, J.W. (Jacob W.), Chapman, J.M. (Jacqueline M.), Gutowsky, L.F.G. (Lee F.G.), … Cooke, S.J. (2017). Influence of hook type and live bait on the hooking performance of inline spinners in the context of catch-and-release brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis fishing in lakes. Fisheries Research, 186, 642–647. doi:10.1016/j.fishres.2016.10.001