Many Anglers are Fizzing Fish, Are you?

Many Anglers are Fizzing Fish, Are you?
Many Anglers are Fizzing Fish, Are you?
Many anglers today are familiar with Fizzing. Are you?Fish hooked and lured in fresh water lakes and rivers that are deeper than 20 feet + or more can cause distress to fish. These fish are pulled from the high pressure of deep water to the low pressure at the surface, which causes the gas to expand in the bladder, causing the bladder to enlarge. The swim bladder adjusts based on the water pressure. If fish are pulled up to fast or from deep depths, the bladder doesn’t have a chance to correct itself. If the fish are released quickly, some are strong enough to swim back down where the pressure will re-compress the bladder, others suffer.The signs of a distressed fish:
  • Fish are turning over in the live well
  • Fish when released are disoriented
  • Fish can’t seem to swim
  • Fish float on the surface of the water rather than back their original depths.
These signs are cause for concern as the fish may not regain its equilibrium, this can lead to fish exhaustion as it is trying unsuccessfully to swim down. As well, an over inflated bladder now puts pressure on other internal organs, causing restricted blood flow and breathing issues.Natural Process:The natural process is very slow as the gas inside the bladder must pass through blood vessels and bladder walls.The purpose of the swim bladder is so it can achieve neutral buoyancy by regulating the amount of gas in the bladder and helps it to suspend itself anywhere in water. This also helps conserve energy as it maintains its position without continually swimming to stay in place.Procedure:By inserting a hypodermic needle through the skin of a fish’s into its bladder, helps to relieve the pressure. You can actually hear the sound of the release of pressure, similar sounding to the release of air in a car tire or balloon. These needles with instructions can be purchased at any fishing tackle store, Cabela’s, Bass Pro, Pro Am Tackle and most other fishing supplier stores. Stats: Up to 45% of fish caught at depths more than 30 feet do not survive if not fizzed.

Fish Species Depth of Capture (m) (feet)  Mortality Reference


Black crappie




Largemouth bass




Lake Trout




Rainbow trout








White Crappie




Yellow Birch




Particularly noteworthy is the impact on bass and walleye, which are actively sought during competitive fishing events.Report:This past winter 2013-2014 with the extreme cold weather, created thicker ice and colder water, moved the fish even deeper. A winter study was conducted of walleye caught and released; all mortality was attributed to complications from over inflated bladders. Distended or ruptures swim bladders were reported in 35% of the walleye. In the report it was recommended that optimum survival rate walleye should not be taken from depths exceeding 7.5m or 24 feet. For largemouth bass, signs of distress appeared from depths of 3.5 m or 12 feet and became disoriented at 8.4m or 27 feet. Have fun fishing but be mindful of the fish species and their environment. No one, fish included needs, to be stressed!By Genevieve van Oers

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