Catch and release fishing plays an essential role when it comes to recreational fishing activities. Adhering to this fishing method creates a positive impact on the preservation of the native fish species. Its primary purpose primarily to allow the fish to remain and expand their population in the ecosystem.

It is not only for the fish and the ecosystem, but it also allows other anglers to enjoy recreational fishing. Also, it is a way to keep the fish population for the next modern generation. 

Before the catch and release fishing

Know the fishing regulations in your localities. Most fishing charters establish catch and release fishing regulations by setting the limitations during the catch.

When taking recreational fishing, be aware of these possible situations to increase the fish’s survival rate.

  • Fish exhaustion: The battle with fish can be pretty tough. If it lasts too long, it can disrupt the fish’s chemical balance.
  • Fish slime loss: Fish have a slime cover that protects from infection. This protective layer may be destroyed by rough handling.
  • Water time out: A fish cannot breathe or restore its chemical balance as long as it’s out of the water.
  • Fish deep wounds: Anglers can do a lot, both before and after the fish are hooked, to minimize injury to the hook.

Catch and Release Fishing: Tackle preparation

  • Use durable enough tackle. Many anglers like to do more sport by using light tackles, but any fish you plan to release should be brought on board as fast as possible to reduce fish exhaustion.
  • Whenever possible, use artificial baits. Fish tend to swallow natural baits but usually have artificial lures hooked into the lip or mouth. A lip wound is far less severe than an intestinal injury.
  • Use barbless hooks. You are much easier to remove than barbed hooks from a fish, which means fewer fish wounds and less time out. Bait hooks and artificial lures may easily be bowed or filed down.
  • Set the hook quickly with natural bait so that the fish can’t swallow it.
  • Use circle hooks to eliminate gut wounds when fishing with natural bait. Research has shown that ring hooks are rarely gut-hooked fish. That’s why a fish need to take the bait and hook with circular hooks.
  • Mitigate the treble hook usage to reduce fish injury and water time. Often, individual hooks can be clipped without ruining the lure, or trebles can be replaced. 
  • Prepare the catch and release fishing gear, including camera and measurement tool to shorten water time out.

Catch and Release Fishing: Landing the fish

  • Stay near. Most fishing regulations require anglers to perform closely. You significantly reduce the chance of fish chewing hooks when you are alert and in the vicinity.
  • Don’t play with fish until they are exhausted. It takes longer for a tired fish to recover from the increase of lactic acid. Avoid playing the fish as quickly as possible and land it to exhaustion. Remove the fish then rapidly.
  • Use a net to land. Landing nets reduce handling time, stress, and injury potential, particularly for large, manageable fish. The best frames are wide with a shallow rubber network or soft, knotless mesh.

Catch and Release Fishing: Handling the fish

  • Keep the fish in the water to prevent slime loss or water time out.
  • Remove the fish carefully by holding its weight upright, lifting it straight, 
  • Use a slightly shallow rubber or knotless nylon landing net. These nets remove less slime and reduce injury and water time.
  • Continue fish control so that it does not look floppy and causes additional injuries or slime loss.
  • Use wet cotton gloves or a towel to minimize slime loss. Make sure you wet them first if you have to use your hands.
  • Cover the fish’s eyes and cradle its back. This calms the fish, reduces injury and the loss of slime.
  • Prevent touching the gills. It is where the fish get oxygen and salts from the water when recovering from fight exhaustion. Gills are extremely sensitive.

Catch and Release Fishing: Removing the hook

  • Keep the fish in the water or keep the fish calm and relax. This makes removing the hook easier.
  • Use a dehooker to quickly remove a hook, to hold the fish in or across the water. A dehooker may be made or purchased.
  • Remove hooks in the fish’s mouth, gill, or gullet with instruments such as pin forceps and pin pinches that can grasp the theme firmly.
  • Use a disgorger or deep throat tool when the hook is in the stomach so that the hook can be quickly removed or the line can be cut, and the hook is left.
  • If a fish is injured, add this fish to your creel and adapt it to avoid the problem.
  • Leave the hook if necessary. If the fish is profoundly crocheting or the hook cannot be removed easily, leave it. Cut your line as near as you can to the hook.

Catch and Release Fishing: Releasing the fish

  • Before releasing, allow the fish to recover fully. Keep the fish in an upright position underwater or secured in the landing net. Make sure it is ventilated — you should see an opening and closing of the gills. If it is difficult for the fish to recover, they face the fish. The fresh oxygenated water can pass through the pans so that the fish “catch their breath.” Allow it to swim alone.
  • Consider moving the fish into calmer water in rapidly moving water, where it can recover and swim alone. Rapid and tumultuous water can sweep away or injure a fish that is weakened. For fish released from a midstream boat, this is especially important.
  • If a fish is caught and taken from deep water, gasses dissolved in the blood come from the solution, leading to expanding the swim bladder. The resulting damage and stress are called “barotrauma.” This event is often survived by a fish if it is correctly treated and released. Know the correct procedure when releasing fish caught in depth.

Read also: Catch and Release Fishing

Test your fishing ability in St. Catherine!

Plan your fishing trip before the spring and summer strikes. If you are looking for exciting outdoor activities for this coming peak season, catch and release fishing will be the best idea. Don’t worry; we will guide you to the finest fishing spots with numerous fish species you can find. So, book your appointment in Niagara Fish Assassin. Call us at (289) 668-2543 today to make a reservation.

You can also visit our fishing charters in Ontario;

  • 200 Broadway St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
  • Bluffers Park Arena, 7 Brimley Rd S, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada