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In regard to links throughout this Site, you may see a word that is underlined but NOT highlighted blue like a link, It IS a link and these are words that can be found in our Dictionary. In case  you're unfamiliar with some of the fishing lingo.

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Catch and Release


If you plan to release your catch, bend down the barb to make it easier to remove the hook.


Catch and Release

If the decision is to release fish, all fish should be handled as little as possible and fish should be returned to the water as quickly as possible.

The best method is to hold the fish in the water -  reach to the fish and remove the hook with needle nose pliers. If you need to remove the fish from the water, return it as quickly as possible. In warmer water, moving the fish back and forth with water entering the mouth will help the fish recover more quickly.

However, in some cases, fish caught from deep in a lake (cool water) can not swim back down to the cool water due to air bladder expansion.

They may not survive if released in warm surface water, and anglers should consider keeping legal fish rather than releasing them.


To release a fish, keep it in the water if you can. Handle it carefully with a wet hand so it can be released unharmed. If it's a fish without sharp teeth like a bass, hold its lower lip between your thumb and index finger. If it has sharp teeth like a walleye or northern pike, carefully hold it around the body. Never hold a fish by the eyes or gills if it is to be released.

Tearing a hook out can harm the fish so badly that it may not live. If the fish is hooked deeply and the hook can't easily be removed, cut the line to release the fish. The hook will rust, dissolve, or become loose without harming the fish. The use of barbless hooks makes it easier to release fish.

If a fish loses consciousness, try to revive it by gently moving it in a figure-eight pattern so water moves through its gills. When the fish begins to struggle and can swim, let it go.

Today, some species of fish exist in limited numbers. More and more anglers know this and participate in "catch and release" fishing. Now, many anglers take only what they need for food and release the rest unharmed. This makes it possible for other anglers to enjoy catching them again.

Some fish take longer to become adults and may not spawn (lay their eggs) until they are three to seven years old. Then, they spawn only once a year. You should release many of these fish. They include bass, lake trout, muskellunge, northern pike, sturgeon, walleye, and most large game fish. Catching and then releasing these species is a good practice.

Other fish species mature earlier and spawn more than once a year. For example, bluegill and many other panfish spawn when they are two to three years old.

Until recently, few anglers realized that the populations of certain gamefish in the large oceans could become threatened. However, to increase fish populations, fish hatcheries are raising and stocking fish in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the Gulf of Mexico. Today, redfish, snook, seatrout, striped bass, and other saltwater fish are being raised for stocking.



Some fish are far too valuable to be caught only once.
 Many angler's now take only what they need for food and release the rest of their catch unharmed.

This is called "catch and release" and it helps to keep enough fish in the rivers and lakes for everyone to fish for.


Here are several tips 
for practicing a successful 
catch and release. 

1. After landing the fish, try to keep it in the water as much as possible.

Try to avoid removing the fish from the water. 

Do not let fish flop about in shallow water, on the ground, or in the bottom of your boat.

2. Use wet hands or wet cloth gloves to handle the fish.

Fish have a slime coating, which seals out infection. 
Rough handling can destroy this protection.

Keep your fingers out of and away from the gills and eyes. 

 Never squeeze the fish. 

Fish can not remain healthy out of water for longer than you can hold your breath.
Picture running a 4-minute mile, then someone sticks your head under water and tells you hold your breath.
This is what a fish goes through after a fight at the end of a line.

3. Remove the hook from the fish's mouth. If the hook is deep in the throat and cannot be removed easily, cut the line. The hook will usually dissolve or fall out later.

4. Have your partner take a picture of you and your catch.

Make sure the camera is ready and film is loaded before boating the fish. Nothing puts more stress on a fish than “sunbathing” on the deck, waiting for a slow poke to ready a camera. When the camera is ready, then lift the fish from the water and snap the shots you need and release the fish immediately.

5. Release the fish back into the water -

never throw it.

 Once a fish has been landed, quickly turn the fish upside down and more times than not the fish will immediately become disoriented and cease struggling. Removing the hook becomes a great deal easier and the fish is left in much better condition for the release to follow.

Point your catch into a slow current, or gently move it back and forth until its gills are working properly and it maintains its balance. When the fish recovers and attempts to swim away, let it swim from your hands.

Large fish may take some time to revive. 

Watch your fish swim away. 

It is a great feeling and you know others will have the opportunity to catch and have as much fun as you did!


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It is important that people who fish follow all fishing rules and regulations.
These rules help conserve fish populations and also help anglers be successful.
Regulations may limit the size of, number of, and season that a type of fish may be caught, and may require a license to fish. In some cases, only “catch and release” fishing is allowed, which means the fish must be let go. Some bait is illegal in certain areas.
Contact your state wildlife agency by visiting Our Rules and Regulations Page.

If you have any hints, suggestions, techniques or anything that you would like to share or have me put onto this web page,
please feel free to Email me

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