I came across a term the other day that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources tossed out regarding fishing that I never had heard before. Barotrauma. It's something that can be fatal to humans, animals, and fish. The Minnesota DNR is calling attention to it as the season begins to transition from winter to spring on Minnesota lakes.

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Deep water anglers! Beware of “barotrauma.”
Barotrauma refers to injuries to fish (and humans) caused by rapid changes in barometric or water pressure. Fish caught from deep-water environments will likely experience traumatic and deadly injuries when they are brought to the surface. Symptoms include bulging eyes, bleeding gills, gas bubbles under the skin or an expanded swim bladder that pushes the stomach out of the fish's mouth.
Some fish species are more susceptible, such as walleye, perch, bass and crappies. If you choose to fish in water deeper than 30 feet, the ethical thing to do is keep the fish you catch and include them in your daily limit, unless there is a slot limit. Catch-and-release anglers are encouraged to fish in shallower water to maximize survival of the fish they release."

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recommends that if you catch a fish that is showing signs of barotrauma you should keep it and count it against your daily limit.

For more information about barotrauma and other ways to responsibly enjoy nature, you can head to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website.

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