I would like to comment on the July 20 letter titled, “Survey Kills Fish Just To Prove They’re There” by Bob Mallard. Apparently, Mallard is upset that people conducting the fish sampling survey on some of our Downeast waters are using bait to achieve their goals. He thinks the partnership of Audubon, Trout Unlimited and the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife are to blame for not insisting that bait not be used.

He crosses the line, in my opinion, when he resorts to name-calling. These people are far from “lazy, sloppy, careless, reckless, and a bit arrogant.” These three organizations have accounted for many, many achievements in the name of our fish and outdoor resources. And I, for one, think he needs to sincerely apologize to each one of these organizations.

Furthermore, at the end of his letter, he states we can’t afford to lose even one of these precious, rare, and sometimes endangered fish. But he willingly suggests using artificial lures with a 4.9 percent mortality rate and using flies with a 3.8 percent mortality rate to catch these fish. Even with those mortality rates, some fish will surely die.

Disclaimer: I am an avid bait fisherman who uses smelts while trolling. Ninety-five percent of the fish I catch and release are lightly hooked in the corner of the mouth, making releasing the fish very easy with minimal harm to the fish. Most of the bait fish mortality studies mentioned above were done using worms while still fishing. The high mortality rates come from the fish swallowing the hook too deep. You rarely see fish swallowing trolled bait deeply.

Dennis C. Bolduc


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