Many fly fishermen and women working familiar waters insist that they have caught the same fish more than once. And the experience was just as exciting the second or third time around as it was the first time. That is why anglers around the world promote catch and release practices!
I hope you have been able to read my previous two posts on this subject, where I introduced tips about catch and release I learned from my own research as well as from the friendly staff and guides at Minturn Anglers. Here’s some final advice.
Handle Fish with Wet Hands
Be sure your hands are wet before handling a fish, to avoid removing any of the fish’s protective coating, which we usually call “slime”. This coating helps protect the fish from disease.
Keep the Fish from Injury
Try to avoid having the fish slam itself against rocks or the boat to prevent causing injury to itself, and to exhaust itself unnecessarily. Don’t squeeze it or damage its eyes or gills.
Hold the Fish Properly
Hold larger fish horizontally to prevent internal injury. Smaller fish should be held vertically by the jaw.
Use a Catch and Release Net
If you are going to use a net to land a fish, be sure it’s designed for catch and release, using materials and a smaller mesh that result in less damage to the skin of the fish.
Be Sure Your Photographer is Ready
If you are having a picture taken, be sure your photographer is ready. Take photos quickly to reduce the impact on the fish.
Help Your Fish Revive
Hold a fish in the direction of the current or simply gently hold it in still water until it revives and swims away on its own. If there are signs the fish is not going to make it, keep it as part of your daily limit if possible.
Release the Fish Quickly
Letting a fish go as soon as possible is the best guarantee of its survival.
Not Saying Good Bye, but “Till we Meet Again”
Be sure to toss a parting wave to your newly released fish. If you look closely, you will likely see it pass you a “thank you” with a friendly flip of his tail!
No doubt about it, catch and release is the way to go. Pass it on.
Go to Catch and Release 101 Part 1.