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Releasing Fish

There is a growing trend among anglers to catch and release, unharmed, a part of their allowable catch. A fish that appears unharmed may not survive if carelessly handled, so please abide by the following:


- Play and release fish as rapidly as possible. A fish played for too long may not recover.


- Keep the fish in the water as much as possible. A fish out of water is suffocating. Internal injuries and scale loss is much more likely to occur when out of water.


-Roll fish onto their backs (while still in the water). This may reduce the amount they struggle, therefore minimizing stress, etc.


- Carry needle-nose pliers. Grab the bend or round portion of the hook with your pliers, twist pliers upside down, and the hook will dislodge. Be quick, but gentle. Single barbless hooks are recommended, if not already stipulated in the BC Fishing regulations.


- Any legal fish that is deeply hooked, hooked around the gills or bleeding should be retained as part of your quota. If the fish cannot be retained legally, you may improve its chances for survival by cutting the leader and releasing it with the hook left in.


- Nets used for landing your catch, should have fine mesh and knotless webbing to protect fish from abrasion and possible injury.


Here is a "How To" photo using the Gibbs "Catch and Release net". Literally...this is what the net is called. Pick one up today!


- If you must handle the fish, do so with your bare, wet hands (not with gloves). Keep your fingers out of the gills, and don't squeeze the fish or cause scales to be lost or damaged. It is best to leave fish in the water for photos. If you must lift a fish then provide support by cradling one hand behind the front fins and your other hand just forward of the tail fin. Minimize the time out of the water, then hold the fish in the water to recover. If fishing in a river point the fish upstream while reviving it. When the fish begins to struggle and swim normally, let it go.


Hope these suggestions are helpful


These suggestions are courtesy of BC Provincial Regulations


Sat February 2/19  6:39am


A Fish out of water - The Study


A University of Idaho study provides evidence that the practice by anglers of holding a fish out of water before releasing it has no impact on the fish’s survival or its ability to produce offspring, according to a U of I news release.


For FULL RESULTS of the STUDY cast on this link


Sat February 2/19  6:39am


Some Fresh Air on Air Exposure



Keepemwet Fishing responds to article questioning impact of air exposure on fish. Read the full statement here.



Hi Noel, This is really great information that you are giving out. We have a product that is called the landing hand, it is the most fish friendly item ever produced. If you fish you should have one. Both Fly and Spin, both Fresh and Salt. It does not remove the slime from the fish and offers a very safe grip for the fisherman so the fish is not flopping around on the rocks. Once a person uses one he will not fish without one. They used this Landing Hand in a hatchery in Washington and had zero mortality. Seth Norman is the original designer of this outstanding product. We are the distributors.

Good Fishing, Jim Teeny

Jim Teeny, Inc.



We (Fish and Wildlife Branch) have been pushing anglers to keep their fish in the water (if they plan on releasing them).  Washington State implemented a regulation a decade or so ago making it unlawful to remove fish from the water due to the science that’s recently become available which shows that fish lose a percent of survival for every second out of water after landing – a fish out of water for a minute now has less than a 40% chance of survival!  Because so many anglers review your web page and follow the lead of other anglers appearing there, I wondered if you would be willing to help direct them so we can optimize fish survival and angling success in the future?


Apologies for potentially adding yet another item to your plate but I think this one has huge benefits for all if you’re willing.


All the best for the season Noel.




Mark Beere

Senior Fisheries Biologist

Fish and Wildlife Branch

BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

3726 Alfred Ave.

Bag 5000

Smithers, BC

V0J 2N0

250.847.7297 (phone)

250.847.7728 (facsimile)



More good information and education including:


3 Rules for Handling Steelhead


Cast on this link to learn more...



Thu Mar 12/15 3:03pm

We would like to thank Mark Beere of the BC Govt for sending the following article links so we all can learn more regarding fishing handling during catch and release:


Does catch and release affect the mating system and individual reproductive success of wild Atlantic Salmon?


Keep wild Steelhead wet!


Keep “Em We Campaign + Photo Contest



Releasing Salmon in a river


by Fishing with Rod


Cast  on this link: to watch the short but informative video.


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