A large body of research has documented the stress response of ﬁsh following angling capture. Nearly all of these studies have taken place during the open-water season, with almost no work focused on the eﬀects of capture in the winter via ice angling. We therefore conducted a study to examine physiological disturbance and reﬂex impairment following capture by ice-angling in two commonly targeted species, bluegill Lepomis macrochirus and yellow perch Perca ﬂavescens. Fish were captured from a lake in eastern Wisconsin (USA) and sampled either immediately or after being held in tanks for 0.5, 2 or 4 h. Sampling involved the assessment of reﬂex action mortality predictors (RAMP) and a blood biopsy that was used to measure concentrations of plasma cortisol and lactate. The capture-induced increase in plasma cortisol concentration was delayed relative to responses documented in previous experiments conducted in the summer and reached a relative high point at 4 h post-capture. Reﬂex impairment was highest at the ﬁrst post-capture time point (0.5 h) and declined with each successive sampling (2 and 4 h) during recovery. Bluegill showed a higher magnitude stress response than yellow perch in terms of plasma cortisol and RAMP scores, but not when comparing plasma lactate. Overall, these data show that ice-angling induces a comparatively mild stress response relative to that found in previous studies of angled ﬁsh. While recovery of plasma stress indicators does not occur within 4 h, declining RAMP scores demonstrate that ice-angled bluegill and yellow perch do recover vitality following capture.
- Ice ﬁshing
- Stress response
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecological Modeling
- Nature and Landscape Conservation
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law