The Ramblings of a Fly Fisherman

The Art of Catch and Release

I have seen so many fisherman out there that believe that "catch and release" is nothing more than removing the hook from the mouth of the fish and tossing it back into the river. I believe that there are several other factors to consider in order to safeguard the health of the fish and ultimately the sport itself.

1. Consider using a rubber-based net.  I really like these as they allow great control of the fish while not removing the natural slime-coat which acts as a protective layer preventing disease and infection.  Standard mesh nets or gloves remove this protective layer and also create challenges when attempting to remove your flies from the material.

2. Return the fish back to the water quickly.  We all want to get pictures of our catch, but be quick about it.  Trout can be quite sensitive when taken out of the water for 3 minutes or more increasing the risk of harming the fish.

3. Don't "toss" the fish.  I know that it sounds simple, but many fail to follow through on this idea.  Place the fish in a calmer section of the river and slowly release it.  This will allow the catch to regain control and swim away at it's leisure.

4. Use barbless hooks.  This can be a more challenging method of fishing as it will test your line control skill, but barbless hooks are easier to remove causing less tissue damage to the fish.  It's something to consider if you want to take that extra step toward conservation.


Michael McFarland said...

I found this information on the FFF site which supports and expands on this post.

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