The time it takes to land and release your fish and the way you handle it is critical to its survival.
TIPS FOR CATCH & RELEASE
Summer temperatures increase stress on fish and make a quick and careful catch and release critical to their survival.
Taking time to revive your fish by gently moving it back and forth underwater until it swims from your hands will increase its survival chances.
Leaving a fish in the water gives it oxygen for quicker recovery and also supports the fishâ€™s weight, reducing stress on its internal organs and spine.
Holding a wet cloth or wearing a wet glove helps grip the fish and reduces injury from movement
Use gear and line strong enough to bring fish in quickly.
Use flies. Fish caught on flies are more likely to survive than fish caught with bait.
Go barbless. Barbless hooks allow for a quicker release and decrease injury to fish. When tying flies, either buy barbless hooks or compress the barb on the hook with pliers before you tie.
LANDING YOUR CATCH
Land fish quickly before they are played out.
Use a knotless or rubber mesh net. Nets minimize damage and handling time.
Avoid fishing for cold-water species (ie. trout) when water temperatures near 70 degrees. Fish are stressed in high temperatures and are less likely to survive when released.
REMOVING THE HOOK
If possible, remove the hook quickly and gently while keeping your fish in the water.
Use a hemostat to back the hook out of its entrance hole.
If your fish is hooked deeply, cut the line near the hook.
HANDLING YOUR CATCH
Minimize the time your fish is out of water.
Wet your hands when handling your fish.
Measure and photograph the fish with it in the water.
Never toss a fish back. Gently support the fish facing into the current until it swims from your hands.
REVIVING YOUR CATCH
If the fish does not swim out of your hands, you may need to revive it.
Move the fish gently back and forth underwater until it swims free.
From a boat, revive a fish by leaving it underwater in the landing net with the opening facing into current until the fish swims free.
Local Perspectives ~ Anglers visiting western Alaska are encouraged to respect the rights of private property owners and to respect traditional perspectives. Many local residents are concerned about catch and release fishing practices. Yupik people feel these practices are disrespectful to fish and are in conflict with their traditional ethics.
These ethics teach that when animals are mistreated, the natural order becomes disrupted and people risk future food shortages. If disrupted, the fish will move away and may never return to the river.
It is important that visitors acknowledge and respect these traditions by respecting their catch and observing careful catch and release practices.
Keep the fish in the water, Use single hook lures or flies, When taking pictures, cradle the fish with both hands, Pinch your barbs down and If you can not remove the fly easily, consider cutting the line or the hook.