BWCA Catching the same fish multiple times? Boundary Waters Fishing Forum
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BWfishingfanatic12
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04/27/2022 12:23PM  
Not sure how exactly I want to word this question but just curious on some dialogue and angler's various perspectives on this topic. As I revisit places I have fished a lot it often gets me wondering if I have caught the same fish multiple times. This seems more likely to me on Small rivers and lakes but is possible in other scenarios I am sure as well.

Fish can be creatures of habit so if you are fishing the same location, structure, method, time of year, etc it would stand to assume that it could be likely to catch the same fish multiple times over the years. Bed fishing and other further variables like that would exponentially increase those odds as I have read research that many of them spawn in the same area every year.

There are a couple times in my life that I am pretty sure I have caught the same fish for a 2nd or third time based on markings, size, etc... Was just curious on other's perspectives on this. In particular, people that really pound the same rivers and lakes throughout the year day in and out. I feel pretty comfortable saying that I have not caught the same BWCA fish twice as I frequent different lakes most years but maybe those that go to the same location every year may feel differently.

I am genuinely curious how many people feel that they have done this. Thanks for your thoughts!
 
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SlickNorthwoods
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04/27/2022 12:37PM  
When Uncut Angling had his TV show, he had a segment on each episode showing fish that were caught and released then subsequently caught again, sometimes multiple times. I'd say the chances aren't incredibly low, especially for something like a large walleye or Pike/Musky in the same spot & same time of year.
 
04/27/2022 04:24PM  
My wife caught the same bass after we reeled in and paddled down the shoreline another 100 yards. It followed our canoe and grabbed her leach again. We knew it was the same fish because it had a large black ant attached to the back of it’s throat.
 
DRob1992
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04/27/2022 06:38PM  
I can't say 100% for certain that I've ever caught the same fish twice but I can say for sure that I've had the same girthy pike hit my Mepps on 4 straight casts. My first cast resulted in what I believed at the time to be a snag and a lost Mepps. On the next 3 casts, I saw a big pike follow and strike my Mepps. My original Mepps was hooked into his lower jaw/lip.
 
MEPPS
senior member (54)senior membersenior member
 
04/27/2022 08:45PM  
Two documented cases in the Q. Fishing a devils horse for smallies. Broke off a nice fish. Next day guy paddles up to our camp site ask if anyone lost a devils horse. He caught, released the fish and returned the devils horse. Second time was fishing with a black twister tail and yellow jig head. Got bit off by a pike. Next day fishing top water caught a pike with a black twister tail and yellow jig head in the same area.
 
pastorjsackett
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04/28/2022 05:10AM  
A few years back we were fishing up in the BWCA and my brother in law, who loves to pitch jigs, kept getting bit off by pike. We would laugh and say "We'll get that jig back for ya." And we did. Mulitiple times. Pretty funny.
 
Savage Voyageur
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04/28/2022 12:43PM  
Can only remember doing this one time on Clearwater. I just anchored and caught fish almost cast. I could tell I was catching the same fish because of the ripped lips on some of the smallmouth bass.
 
HangLoose
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04/28/2022 10:04PM  
I wouldn't believe this story if I didn't witness it with my own eyes. My brother and I were ice fishing one time and a fish broke off my brother's line. A week later, in a different fishing spot 1/4 mile away, my brother caught and landed a walleye. The walleye was caught by hooking the eyelet of a different yellow Gamakatsu Fishing Hook with red bead that was already hooked in the fish's lip. The same yellow Gamakatsu Fishing Hook and red bead that only my brother uses. Hooked through another hook's eyelit! Same fish! A week later! True story. I almost don't believe it myself and I was there
 
DRob1992
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04/29/2022 11:28AM  
HangLoose: "I wouldn't believe this story if I didn't witness it with my own eyes. My brother and I were ice fishing one time and a fish broke off my brother's line. A week later, in a different fishing spot 1/4 mile away, my brother caught and landed a walleye. The walleye was caught by hooking the eyelet of a different yellow Gamakatsu Fishing Hook with red bead that was already hooked in the fish's lip. The same yellow Gamakatsu Fishing Hook and red bead that only my brother uses. Hooked through another hook's eyelit! Same fish! A week later! True story. I almost don't believe it myself and I was there
"


That one takes the cake
 
papalambeau
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04/29/2022 02:59PM  
HangLoose: "I wouldn't believe this story if I didn't witness it with my own eyes. My brother and I were ice fishing one time and a fish broke off my brother's line. A week later, in a different fishing spot 1/4 mile away, my brother caught and landed a walleye. The walleye was caught by hooking the eyelet of a different yellow Gamakatsu Fishing Hook with red bead that was already hooked in the fish's lip. The same yellow Gamakatsu Fishing Hook and red bead that only my brother uses. Hooked through another hook's eyelit! Same fish! A week later! True story. I almost don't believe it myself and I was there
"

Ice fishing with my two young boys for crappies. The six year old puts his pole down on his 5 gallon bucket and walks away to get something to eat. You guessed it - crappie comes along and yanks the rod into the hole and it's gone. After a laugh and instruction on how to put the handle over the pole to keep that from happening again we are back fishing. A few minutes later the eight year old has a nice one on but is having trouble getting it up through the hole. Something was stopping it just under the ice. We messed around a bit and were finally able to get the crappie through the hole with the pole attached. Think about that every time we are on the ice.
 
lundojam
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04/29/2022 03:15PM  
I was on a launch on Mille Lacs 20 years ago or so. (That's where a bunch of people pay 20 bucks a head to go out on a big boat and fish.) There was a DNR guy walking around tagging fish as they were caught and released; we had to let a lot go because of the slot limit. Several times in that 4 hours fish were re-caught that had only recently been tagged.
 
outsidethebox
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04/30/2022 06:04AM  
We have a small pond in our back yard with a good population of nice large mouths. Over the years-every once in a while, in the morning, I would go out and catch and release a couple of them. I would alternate between a Rapala and a Mepps spinner-the Mepps, BTW, had the highest success rate. Last Fall I undertook an experiment to see if I could get them trained not to "take the bait". I would go out and fish every morning for about half an hour-catch 5 or 6 of them. Over the period of about a month the numbers I caught dwindled to zero. I then began only attempting to catch them once a week-no success...no strikes or follows-nothing. That is what I wanted to know...do fish learn...it sure seems as though they do. And that I could catch nothing right through spawning this Spring sure seems to reinforce this reality. I do have some nightcrawlers in the fridge...am wondering if they would succumb to this trick??? Maybe I'll go check this out this morning.
 
BWfishingfanatic12
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04/30/2022 09:38AM  
HangLoose: "I wouldn't believe this story if I didn't witness it with my own eyes. My brother and I were ice fishing one time and a fish broke off my brother's line. A week later, in a different fishing spot 1/4 mile away, my brother caught and landed a walleye. The walleye was caught by hooking the eyelet of a different yellow Gamakatsu Fishing Hook with red bead that was already hooked in the fish's lip. The same yellow Gamakatsu Fishing Hook and red bead that only my brother uses. Hooked through another hook's eyelit! Same fish! A week later! True story. I almost don't believe it myself and I was there
"


Wow that's an awesome story! Very cool indeed!
 
BWfishingfanatic12
distinguished member (272)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/30/2022 09:39AM  

"
Ice fishing with my two young boys for crappies. The six year old puts his pole down on his 5 gallon bucket and walks away to get something to eat. You guessed it - crappie comes along and yanks the rod into the hole and it's gone. After a laugh and instruction on how to put the handle over the pole to keep that from happening again we are back fishing. A few minutes later the eight year old has a nice one on but is having trouble getting it up through the hole. Something was stopping it just under the ice. We messed around a bit and were finally able to get the crappie through the hole with the pole attached. Think about that every time we are on the ice."

That is quite the story. I have caught fish with lures in their mouth but never a whole pole attached still. Craziness. Surprising that a crappie could still swim around, never less feed while being attached to a pole. That is a very cool story, thanks for sharing Dan!
 
Duff
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04/30/2022 10:12AM  
Ice fishing a 1500 acre lake for walleyes and reel in a massive 14" perch. Took a pic of it on the ice next to a Coke can for size reference and let it go. 6 months later I'm slip bobber fishing from the boat in the same area and reel in the same monster perch. Had the same chunk missing from its dorsal fin that it had before. Let it go again.
 
DRob1992
distinguished member (221)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/30/2022 11:15AM  
papalambeau: "HangLoose: "I wouldn't believe this story if I didn't witness it with my own eyes. My brother and I were ice fishing one time and a fish broke off my brother's line. A week later, in a different fishing spot 1/4 mile away, my brother caught and landed a walleye. The walleye was caught by hooking the eyelet of a different yellow Gamakatsu Fishing Hook with red bead that was already hooked in the fish's lip. The same yellow Gamakatsu Fishing Hook and red bead that only my brother uses. Hooked through another hook's eyelit! Same fish! A week later! True story. I almost don't believe it myself and I was there
"

Ice fishing with my two young boys for crappies. The six year old puts his pole down on his 5 gallon bucket and walks away to get something to eat. You guessed it - crappie comes along and yanks the rod into the hole and it's gone. After a laugh and instruction on how to put the handle over the pole to keep that from happening again we are back fishing. A few minutes later the eight year old has a nice one on but is having trouble getting it up through the hole. Something was stopping it just under the ice. We messed around a bit and were finally able to get the crappie through the hole with the pole attached. Think about that every time we are on the ice."


Nvm, this one takes the real cake.
 
Basspro69
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05/01/2022 01:56AM  
I caught the same Smallmouth 4 years running on the Mississippi River. It had a very distinctive marking on it !
 
BWfishingfanatic12
distinguished member (272)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/03/2022 03:10PM  
Basspro69: "I caught the same Smallmouth 4 years running on the Mississippi River. It had a very distinctive marking on it !"

I am particularly interested in river fishing examples... I am fascinated by their movement in rivers, seasonal patterns, etc. I fish some small rivers that I do not envision the fish migrating to far from during the winter so am curious if the big Smallies I catch frequent the same haunts each year or do they roam more freely? All interesting things to ponder.
 
BWfishingfanatic12
distinguished member (272)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/03/2022 03:12PM  
outsidethebox: "We have a small pond in our back yard with a good population of nice large mouths. Over the years-every once in a while, in the morning, I would go out and catch and release a couple of them. I would alternate between a Rapala and a Mepps spinner-the Mepps, BTW, had the highest success rate. Last Fall I undertook an experiment to see if I could get them trained not to "take the bait". I would go out and fish every morning for about half an hour-catch 5 or 6 of them. Over the period of about a month the numbers I caught dwindled to zero. I then began only attempting to catch them once a week-no success...no strikes or follows-nothing. That is what I wanted to know...do fish learn...it sure seems as though they do. And that I could catch nothing right through spawning this Spring sure seems to reinforce this reality. I do have some nightcrawlers in the fridge...am wondering if they would succumb to this trick??? Maybe I'll go check this out this morning."

Interesting experiment. Being in the clinical field I applaud your efforts with conditioning the fish in your pond. Definitely intriguing to read about.
 
Dilligaf0220
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05/03/2022 04:18PM  
On a 3 acre 'pond' I caught the exact same largemouth 7 times. I called him 'Bubba', he's still the largest of largemouths I've ever caught, and the last time I caught him on a flyrod when he was over 7lbs. I'd known him since he was 15" and jacked the left side of his mouth with a plastic worm, and he had worn that white scar ever since. It's been years since he passed, but the sound he made sucking down a muskrat sized deer hair popper will always be one of my bass fishing highlights for life. Godspeed Bubba.

Catching the same fish in the wild? Only once, because he never left my sight. Again a bass, one of those side lakes that is just overrun by stunted, starving, largemouths. 1st cast, I catch two mirror image 10" bass on the same crankbait, one on the front hook, one on the back. HEY, cool! 2nd cast, same deal. Goes on to the 4th cast and they are starting to smarten up, so like a Mahi I let him run around a bit, and yeah 2nd bass eventually tries to steal the lure. 6th cast had to actually let out line before the 2nd bass would hit, and they almost got me snagged in timber so I figure that's enough fun. But one was just sitting there staring at me after I let him go, daring me. So yeah I just chucked out my crankbait ontop of his face and let it sit, after a min or so barely gave it a pop and he hit it again. Figured that was enough fun there. Kinda felt sorry for them, as in airdrop 100 full grown shiners or start a bluegill growing program.

Now catching OTHER peoples fish, aw heck I have a full library on that.
 
thegildedgopher
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05/04/2022 11:12AM  
BWfishingfanatic12: "Basspro69: "I caught the same Smallmouth 4 years running on the Mississippi River. It had a very distinctive marking on it !"


I am particularly interested in river fishing examples... I am fascinated by their movement in rivers, seasonal patterns, etc. I fish some small rivers that I do not envision the fish migrating to far from during the winter so am curious if the big Smallies I catch frequent the same haunts each year or do they roam more freely? All interesting things to ponder. "


Mississippi river, pool 2 in Saint Paul. Trolling a firetiger reef runner, banging bottom. Hooked up and had a line breakage during the fight. Couple days later my buddy caught a SMB down there, and his line got tanged up with another stray line while reeling in. Got them all untangled, landed his bass, then hand-lined the stray line in to find my reef runner connected to a walleye on the other end.
 
iCallitMaize
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05/04/2022 11:24AM  
These are great stories. Thanks to all for sharing.

My example is tame but I did have a river smallmouth break me off in the morning taking a case pearl hologram fluke with it...later that same day I caught it with a grub and the fluke was still in it's lip.
 
Basspro69
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05/07/2022 01:58AM  
BWfishingfanatic12: "Basspro69: "I caught the same Smallmouth 4 years running on the Mississippi River. It had a very distinctive marking on it !"


I am particularly interested in river fishing examples... I am fascinated by their movement in rivers, seasonal patterns, etc. I fish some small rivers that I do not envision the fish migrating to far from during the winter so am curious if the big Smallies I catch frequent the same haunts each year or do they roam more freely? All interesting things to ponder
. "
I feel fish in rivers are pretty easy to pattern a good portion of the year. The one thing that throws a wrench in it is if flooding rearranges structure .
 
05/07/2022 06:24AM  
A few years ago we are fishing Frost Lake around the exposed boulders in the middle of the lake on a scout trip. Three is us were in the canoe. The boy in the front of the canoe had a classic red and white dare devil on from my tackle box. He hooked into a nice northern and he got it next to the canoe and it broke off. The spoon was still hooked in the pike's mouth as it disappeared into the depths. He felt horrible about it. I reassured him that that's part of fishing and not to worry.

About 20 minutes later, he hooked into another nice fish. As we netted it, we could see a flash of red. Sure enough, it still had the spoon hooked in its mouth. We got it back!
 
outsidethebox
distinguished member (158)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/09/2022 05:42AM  
BWfishingfanatic12: "outsidethebox: "We have a small pond in our back yard with a good population of nice large mouths. Over the years-every once in a while, in the morning, I would go out and catch and release a couple of them. I would alternate between a Rapala and a Mepps spinner-the Mepps, BTW, had the highest success rate. Last Fall I undertook an experiment to see if I could get them trained not to "take the bait". I would go out and fish every morning for about half an hour-catch 5 or 6 of them. Over the period of about a month the numbers I caught dwindled to zero. I then began only attempting to catch them once a week-no success...no strikes or follows-nothing. That is what I wanted to know...do fish learn...it sure seems as though they do. And that I could catch nothing right through spawning this Spring sure seems to reinforce this reality. I do have some nightcrawlers in the fridge...am wondering if they would succumb to this trick??? Maybe I'll go check this out this morning."


Interesting experiment. Being in the clinical field I applaud your efforts with conditioning the fish in your pond. Definitely intriguing to read about. "


So I did try the night crawlers...I caught a nice sunfish and a turtle-no bass. Yesterday I took the Mepps back out...and I'll be-I caught a bass. It may have been 5 inches. Evidently I need to train a new generation.
 
Canoe Dude
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05/09/2022 08:52AM  
I once had a pike on in the Q. Got it up to the boat and it snapped the line. Retied and casted into similar area a few times and eventually caught it with the Rapala I had lost in the other side of his mouth. Was cool to get the lure back.
 
05/10/2022 07:41AM  
I was casting for northerns using a gold Johnson Spoon. I hooked a 5 lb northern and just as I got it to the canoe, it snapped my line. I thought I had lost my lure forever. However, 10 minutes later I hooked the same fish, landed it, and retrieved my spoon.
 
HayRiverDrifter
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05/10/2022 09:40AM  
I have had several northern break my line and then later that day caught that same fish with my broke off lure in it's mouth.

I was trout fishing in a hole with really light line and hooked a 7 lb 7 oz brown trout that broke my line. I came back the next weekend with heavier tackle and caught I believe that same trout under the same log in the same hole.

I have also caught walleye that had obviously be hooked recently.
 
05/15/2022 07:39AM  
My dad and his buddy caught the same bass, at the same time. They each had a line out when one had a fish on the other started to reel in and realized he had a fish too. They were more than a little surprised when that bass got to the boat with both of their hooks in it’s mouth!
 
BWfishingfanatic12
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05/15/2022 09:45AM  
fadersup: "My dad and his buddy caught the same bass, at the same time. They each had a line out when one had a fish on the other started to reel in and realized he had a fish too. They were more than a little surprised when that bass got to the boat with both of their hooks in it’s mouth!"

Hah that's a good story. That reminds me that we have had that happen with a pike slip bobber fishing from shore where its just cruising along and eats multiple leeches that we have dangling out there.

Wow! Lots of stories of lure recovery. That's pretty cool. Definitely confirms that catching, hooking, fighting fish does not affect them very much. It does not seem to disrupt their pattern or affect their feeding tendencies too much. Thanks for sharing everyone.
 
05/15/2022 11:51PM  
A study in Yellowstone Park on tagged cutthroat-one was caught and released 22 times by anglers.
 
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