FWP Highlights Catch and Release Fishing Techniques
(Helena) With general stream fishing season underway on May 21, anglers are reminded to practice proper catch and release techniques for released fish.
Anglers can reduce stress on fish by keeping the fish wet while landing and releasing it.
The species of fish, water temperature, and angler behavior affect the success of catch-and release fishing. Trout species are most susceptible to angling mortality. Warm water stresses fish more than cold water. How an angler fishes, choice of gear, and how the angler handles the fish affect survival of released fish.
Here is what anglers can do to maximize fish survival:
- Land the fish quickly and do not play it to exhaustion.
- Wet your hands before handling the fish.
- Keep the fish in the water as much as possible where it gills can absorb oxygen.
- Minimize the time out of water for photos.
- Remove the hook gently. Use of artificial lures, single and barbless hooks can make hook removal faster and easier.
- Let the fish recover before release. If the fish is hooked deeply or bleeding, you may have to snip the line at the fish’s mouth, or consider keeping it if regulations allow.
Consider limiting your catch. Even with catch-and-release, fish are stressed and some will die.
A new catch and release poster is available online at: FWP.mt.gov. More information on catch and release can also be found at: www.keepemwet.org; or