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North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel are encouraging anglers to keep fish caught from depths of more than 25 feet, rather than practice catch-and-release.

“Fish caught from deep water likely won’t survive because of the extreme change in water pressure,” said Scott Gangl, leader of the department's fisheries management section. 

Change in water pressure will cause the swim bladder to expand, which means fish can no longer control balance. Other internal injuries such as ruptured blood vessels or internal organs also are likely to happen.

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This can happen in any deep water body, but it is especially noteworthy for this time of year in Lake Sakakawea, according to Gangl.

“As water warms during summer, fish tend to move to deeper, cooler water,” he said. “This is particularly true for walleye in the big lake, where walleye follow their primary forage of rainbow smelt to deeper depths as summer progresses.”

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