Catch & release protocol

Fish are beautiful creatures! Following proper catch and release protocol will keep fish healthy and provide other anglers the opportunity to make lasting memories in the future. Here are some helpful tips to maximize a fish’s chance of survival:⁣

Be prepared. A proper release happens long before you are fishing. Make sure that you have a rubber net, forceps, and your camera is easily accessible. Consider using barbless hooks.

Get them in as quickly as possible. Sure, the longer you play a fish, the easier it will be to land, but the more difficult it will be for the fish to recover from fatigue. Be mindful of this when you are playing the fish, especially on warm days. ⁣

Keep them wet! Fish can’t breathe unless they are in the water. When you go to take a fish pic, keep the fish in the water for as long as possible before lifting for the picture. You may consider taking other angles of the fish, rather than the standard “hold out and grin” pictures we’re so accustomed to.

Handle with care. Make sure not to squeeze them, or put your hands near / in their gills, or over their eyes as these are sensitive areas. Before handling the fish, ensure your hands are wet to prevent scraping off it’s slime. This serves as the protective coat for the fish’s immune system. ⁣

Revival. If the fish needs to be nursed, place it face first into the current of water moving at about the speed of walking. Next, gently place one hand under its belly and the other on its tail. Move it back and forth so that the current will move oxygenated water into it’s gills allowing the fish to “catch it’s breath”. The fish should eventually swim off on it’s own.