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Yes you can, but it takes some effort. The best way is have a weighted milk crate with the holes and about 150' ft of rope. Place the milk crate over the fish and slowly lower it down to over a hundred feet. This should allow their swim bladders to deflate. After a few minutes raise your crate and be on your way. There is also another method using a seringe and a needle and going under one of the fins and inserting the needle to deflate the swim bladder, but I have never done that.
 

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No, you really can't.
I have been to a number of seminars about this, and while some species can be 'sent back down' and have reasonable chances of survival, the yelloweye rockfish is not one of these.

There are all sorts of devices to lower the fish back down and release it, and even though at depth the eye bulge and other signs of 'distress' seem to be reversed, there are serious internal problem...organs squashed, tissues torn, etc.

There are a lot of researchers trying to prove that you CAN release these fish with minor mortality, because it is such a problem, but there is no silver bullet at this time. Most of this research is currently being done in Oregon, and if you want more info, Google "rockfish recompression".

sorry.

and you still can't keep them!
 

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sucks, they die 99.9% of the time.

i've reeled up some big yelloweye only see the seagulls feast away on them.
 

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Some Folks are concerned enough to have read the book. Poor Fish!
One Fearful Yellow Eye
Written by John D. MacDonald
Category: Fiction - Mystery & Detective; Fiction - Mystery & Detective - Hard-Boiled; Fiction - Suspense
Format: Paperback, 336 pages
On Sale: February 26, 1996
Price: $7.99

"TRAPPER"
 

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Troll King whats your point here? Don't fish for bottom fish becuase you might catch a Yellow Eye? Not sure I understand your view on this. Please explain. The White Possum
 

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White Possum said:
Troll King whats your point here? Don't fish for bottom fish becuase you might catch a Yellow Eye? Not sure I understand your view on this. Please explain. The White Possum
Sounds to me as if he, like many of us is frustrated and sad that as a result of present regulations and the laws of decompession physics, yellow eye are wasted because they often die when released.
 

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I have used the crate method twice at Neah Bay and have never seen the fish come back up. They either lived and sway away or died later. I am hoping they lived and didn't end up to be seagul food. I think its at least worth the effort to try and not just release them and watch them float away.
 

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if you catch themin less than 100' of water (which is rare for yelloweye) then i think they usually do ok, based on my C&R observations. Also remember that juvenile yelloweye look nothing like the adults, they are bright red with white lateral stripes.

Yelloweyes get big, i remember seeing a carcass at sekiu years back that must have weighed 20lbs pre-filleted.

I also remember gettind decent yelloweyes off alki pt 15 years ago.
 

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I have been a fishery biologist for over 25 years, and have spent some of that time assessing halibut release mortality. I have worked directly with the Oregon folks trying to do successful rockfish re compression, and have listened to over a dozen of their talks on this topic. there are some species which can be successfully re compressed, but Yelloweye is definitely not one of them.

My point is that someone was asking if you can successfully return Yelloweye with little harm to the ocean, and my answer was no. No politics, just a good old biological NO.

If you catch them in shallow water (100' is not that shallow), take hours to bring them up, and then reverse the process, you can minimize the damage. but there still is major damage done to internal organs.

Everybody WANTS to be able to successfully recompress rockfish, and you CAN return them to depth, and they will swim away. but they are not ok, or at least most of them aren't.

Rockfish mortality is a big stick on the horizon which may very well limit many of our sports fisheries. It has already shut down ocean coastal trawling off Oregon and Washington, among others.
 

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Thanks for the honest biological answer TrollKing--- my experience has been that it appears that yelloweye seem to suffer from decompression worse than most of the bottom dwellers. It is interesting to see the bubbles put out by Cod when bringing them up from the deep. Most yelloweye that I've caught fight good at first but when lifted even 30 or 40 feet off the bottom(from 300') lose their fight as they start to suffer from the bends.
 

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I am not really sure if they are struggling due to the "Bends". This would mean that the nitrogen stored in the liquid inside the fish turns to a gas while being retrieved. Is this the case TrollKing ? I am not a biologist....just a diver.

Spud
 

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No, not the bends as we know it, but just gas in spaces expanding when there is not room for that expansion.

Here is a link to an Oregon seagrant publication which gives a little information. In my mind, it leans a bit heavily toward the recompression side of things, but these guys are getting their funding studying this, so they can't abandon it. they are doing field and lab studies, one woman compresses fish over a long time in a tank, then mimics de and re compresssion, to study long term damages, others put sonic tags on fish as they release them ......................lots of study going on but not a lot of bright lights so far

http://seagrant.oregonstate.edu/sgpubs/ ... 05001.html
 

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in college i helped a grad student with a recompression study. He had a large tank which he pressurized to the PSI which a fish would feel at 90 feet over a long period of time. Then he decompressed it rapidly... opened up the tank and used a needle to release the pressure in the swim bladder of all 5 or 6 fish. Then put the fish back into the tank and repressurized it to the depth of 90 feet. He had a camera inside the tank and we were able to watch the fish in there. Many of them sat belly up for a while, but then after about 20 minutes all were back to "normal" as they could be a in a tank. Those fish were then monitored for two weeks and released back into puget sound. None died. Copper Rockfish were the species used. I understand the differences among species and such so this may not be the case for all rockfish. This last summer our boat pulled up an approx 15lb yellow eye from about 70 feet of water and it would not go back down... so i took a sharp needle and released the pressure of the fish and it swam back down. I dont know if it died or not but at least it got a "chance" to potentially survive unlike the ones left on top of the water which get pecked to death by gulls.

If it is certain that 99.9% the time a yellow eye is going to die no matter what depth it comes up from then we might as well allow the retention of them because they die no matter what??? or am i misunderstanding this.
Also with the depth restriction rule in affect out off the coast...we usually fish in 40-90 feet of water...but we must release some canary rockfish(during a 4-5 day trip) that just sit up there on the top of the water and die because their swim bladders are out. Once we catch one of them we usually move to a new spot to try and get away from them... it is very frustrating because we are supposed to be protecting these fish yet you see them dieing on top of the water when less of them would have died if the rule was stated: MUST KEEP THE FIRST TEN (or whatever number) ROCKFISH CAUGHT NO MATTER THE SPECIES. Seems to me more logical for protecting any species...if mortality rates are as high as people say they are.
 

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Troll king, I meant no disrespect with my question about your point on this. I feel that you as well as several others here have a greater understanding of this than I do and I wanted to make absolutely sure I understood. I am one of those who enjoy bottom fishing a great deal and I hope that by following the info provided by people like yourself, the resource I enjoy so much will be there for years to come. Also thanks Traut for your comments. Maybe I could have worded my question a different way. Thank you for your concern. The White Possum
 

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This is very interesting topic; I target rockfish in MA-4 a few times a year and I have caught numerous yelloweye and canary rockfish. In spite of what I’ve read, seeing the seagulls peck at them bothers me so much I will still try to recompress them by using what is essentially a large pipe jig with a barbless hook. After reading TrollKing’s well thought out and informative posts it sounds like all I am doing is making me feel better about how I kill them. I guess I’d rather they were crab food than seagull food.

As far as why they simply don’t lift the restriction, the obvious answer is that people would target them if there wasn’t a regulation against it. Even with my limited knowledge of the area, I know of several spots in MA-4 that hold yelloweye and I’m confident I could be successful if I targeted them. I would hope that most folks would respect the intent of the regulation and change locations if they get into canary or yelloweye.
 

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goose you read my mind: the problem is stupid management and regs, no suprise. They have all the data that shows C & R yelloweyes almost always die yet they still require C & R in areas where you can keep other bottomfish. Its not like you can really target or avoid one rockfish species or another.

when you have regs like that you will ALWAYS have higher mortality than if you had an across the board limit ie first 5 rockfish.

I can recall fishing at sekiu years back. The only this open was hatchery silvers. We caught wild silvers and kings hand over fist all week C & R all of them, still some of them died or were badly injured due to hooks in the eyes and brain. We had a hellof a time catching a hatchery coho and in our vain attempt to limit we hurt many fish. If they would have just had a flat limit the fish would have benefitted immensely.
 

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There is still a commercial fishery for YE, but we are held off of them so we do not target them. When you come in from fishing and get asked by the fish checker if you released any Yelloweye or Canary Rockfish, PLEASE do not exagerate. This is very damaging to the sportfishing fishery. We are getting ready to start paying the piper in 2010, I believe.
 

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Fishnut said:
There is still a commercial fishery for YE, but we are held off of them so we do not target them. When you come in from fishing and get asked by the fish checker if you released any Yelloweye or Canary Rockfish, PLEASE do not exagerate. This is very damaging to the sportfishing fishery. We are getting ready to start paying the piper in 2010, I believe.
I have always wondered how they interpret the data we give them. If we tell them that we caught a certain amount of yelloweye or canary, assume 10.....do they assume 1. That out of the 10 we caught 7 must have died so they have to crunch down on the fishery OR do they assume 2. That people are catching a bunch of them so the must be making a comeback. If we tell them that we never catch them, wouldn't one assume that they don't exist in large numbers out there?
 

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I was butt fishing 3 or 4 years ago off of Swiftsure just outside the RCA. We launched from Neah Bay. Over the course of the day, we caught 6 HUGE yelloweye ranging from 25-35# each in 500'-600' of water. Butt fishing was very good, but mostly smaller fish so we kept releasing the chickens. We released one which floated like a bobber and then moved to another spot over 1nm away, but could not get away from the YE. I couldn't keep YE as I would had to return to Neah Bay. Rather than see the fish die for no good cause, I hailed a group of Canadian boats who were trolling for salmon to take them. The Canadians were extremely appreciative for not wasting the fish. I remembered one skipper said it angered most Canadian fishers to see Yankee caught YE dying on the surface, but knew we were just complying with WA law. To this day, that same skipper and I still email each other.

Too bad the mortality rate is so bad for YE. I generally bottomfish in less than 75' of water. Rarely do I see any fish with the bends.
 
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