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Discussion Starter #1
I think so!! After a cold weekend out east this was the only fish I caught. Caught at 11:30 at night, less than 20 degrees out, very shallow. I hooked the fish in the upper right corner of the mouth, got the hook out painlessly and flipped the fish over to see this. For a split second my heart dropped thinking somehow I did it but there is no way. A recent injury like that would have blood everywhere. It had a wound in its lip too as you can see. I think this 30" pike may have been attacked by another toothy beast at some point. Fish swam right off. Had I thought I caused the injury I would have kept it but I'm confident it's been surviving like that

 

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I looked at a northern pike mortality study online once after I felt guilty from a fishing trip where fish were swallowing some bottom hooked swimbaits and ended up with damaged/bleeding gills. I thought for sure I had killed a few fish. However, the research showed that pike/muskies had over 50% survival even with excessive gill bleeding or tearing. Hard to believe but it definitely made me feel better. Nice fish btw!
 

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My experience it won't last long. I had a 42 incher with less damage go straight to the bottom and belly up. That one is torn pretty bad!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
My experience it won't last long. I had a 42 incher with less damage go straight to the bottom and belly up. That one is torn pretty bad!!!
But what caused the damage? I caught the fish like this, so it must have been doing okay. I hope it survived but not much I could have done anyways, I'd rather watch it swim off with a chance than sitting in my cooler with no chance! If I hook a bass or eye in the gills even slightly there is usually blood coming out. I'd think an injury like this, if recent, would have blood pooring out.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
However, the research showed that pike/muskies had over 50% survival even with excessive gill bleeding or tearing. Hard to believe but it definitely made me feel better. Nice fish btw!
I believe it, pike and muskie are tough fish. Definitely a bummer when you release a fish not sure if it will survive. I think it made it though, put up a fight and then swam off fine.
 

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I believe it, pike and muskie are tough fish. Definitely a bummer when you release a fish not sure if it will survive. I think it made it though, put up a fight and then swam off fine.
Nice fish, I had wondered how you did. The way pike are expanding their numbers there killing some is no big deal. Normally if they were over 25" I would always let them go. But if they are hurt just make that one of the few you keep each year.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Nice fish, I had wondered how you did. The way pike are expanding their numbers there killing some is no big deal. Normally if they were over 25" I would always let them go. But if they are hurt just make that one of the few you keep each year.
I didn't do well lol It was cold out there. The dam was pretty hard to fish. Would have done better if I put the boat on. I am not really a fan of fish, I've never tried pike, but I wasn't in the position to go and clean a 30" fish that night either.
 

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At least you beat the skunk and that's a pretty good fish too. I have caught an occasional fish with damaged gills. I guess it's like surviving with a punctured/damaged lung...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
At least you beat the skunk and that's a pretty good fish too. I have caught an occasional fish with damaged gills. I guess it's like surviving with a punctured/damaged lung...
Yep beat the skunk! Can't believe I didn't catch a single catfish though. That's how I see it though, a damaged lung. Since they have like 6 of them one should be able to go down... Now if it was a slimer it'd be a different story
 

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Pike are tough, bet it makes it.

The fact that its eating is a good sign.
 

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Ive seen that a couple times, this particular one had the same thing. this fish had taken me well into my flyline backing twice. By no means was this fish struggling to survive. Took of like a rocket when i released it.

 

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My II Cents

I have released pike that had damaged gills from lures numerous times that swam off fine. Did they make it? All I know is the remainder of the day I never saw one floating or the next few days after in some cases when fishing the same water for several days in a row.

No guarantee they all made it but I gave them a chance is my perspective.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
That picture makes me feel better fordo! I think pike are pretty tough. Yeah snagged up I was fishing a wind blown cove and didn't see the fish again the next 2 days. I'd rather give it a chance than no chance
 
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