Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
How to properly catch and release a fish

How to properly catch and release a fish

Have you wanted to try catch-and-release fishing,
but don’t know where to start? The purpose of catch-and-release angling is
so that you can have fun fishing and the fish can live to swim another day. By understanding how to catch and release
fish the right way, you can be successful. When you are catch and release fishing, fish
typically die from one of two reasons: wounding or stress. Although some wounding may be unavoidable,
using proper equipment and handling fish carefully can keep this to a minimum. Let’s get started with these four simple steps! Tip number one: use appropriate hooks. Single hooks are easier to remove than multi-point
hooks. Barbless hooks can be even better because
they cause smaller puncture wounds. Small hooks can be made barbless by crushing
the barb with a pair of pliers. You can remove barbs from larger hooks with
files or side-cutters. If you catch a fish in the lip, jaw, roof
of the mouth or cheek it can be more easily released than if it is hooked more deeply–
say in the gullet or in the gills. We recommend using artificial lures, because
they generally hook fish more superficially. If you use live bait, the fish may swallow
it immediately which can lead to gut- or gill-hooking. If a fish has swallowed a hook completely,
cut the line and leave it. The hook will generally deteriorate over time
and the fish has a better chance of survival than if its organs are torn during the unhooking
process. Remove the hook quickly; needle-nose pliers
allow you to release fish with minimal handling. To remove, simply grasp the hook with the
tool, hold the fish in or over the water, and twist the hook. Tip number two: it is better not to net fish
that are going to be released. An alternative is to bring the fish up to
the side of the boat, grasp the hook, and shake it free while the fish is still in the
water. Some fish, such as bass, are easily handled
by the lips. But toothy fish — such as pike, muskellunge,
or trout — can puncture your thumb if you try to grasp them by the mouth. If you use a landing net, make sure it is
large enough to capture the fish without hitting it with the net frame. Neoprene rubber net baskets are easier on
the fish than traditional twine baskets. Tip number three: if you wish to photograph
the fish before you release it be sure to handle it carefully. Wet your hands before touching or picking
up a fish to prevent the removal of its protective mucus. Make sure you support the fish properly while
holding it; don’t hold it by the gills and don’t squeeze the fish. Don’t let the fish batter itself against the
boat or the ground. Tip number four: understand stress is caused
by a variety of factors, including taking too long to land a fish or catching a fish
during periods of warm water temperatures. Bring the fish in to shore or to your boat
directly and release it quickly. When releasing a fish, slide it gently back
into the water. If the fish appears stressed, hold it in the
water and gently move it back and forth to force water through the gills. If you are in a river, face the fish into
the current — but avoid extremely fast-moving water. In some cases, if a fish is badly hooked (for
instance, in the gills) or is obviously stressed, you may not be able to successfully release
it. However, in many cases — such as during closed
seasons or with a fish that does not measure the minimum length required — you must release
it anyway. We hope you enjoy your experience fishing
on Michigan’s lakes and streams. For a weekly fishing report and tips for fishing
success, please visit

31 comments on “How to properly catch and release a fish

  1. Me and my dad have competitions of how much air time our fish gets when we throw it in the air and back into the lake…..

  2. If the fish is hooked in the gullet DO NOT cut the line and leave it, hooks today are made to NOT DETERIORATE, there are proper ways to remove a hook from a fishes gullet or gills which I don't have time to explain on here look it up for yourself I'm sure there are lots of good videos on YouTube

  3. I never understand the concept of catch and release fishing. Isn't the point of fishing is to eat them? No offense but it seems counterproductive that you trying to catch a fish then let them go once you catch them.

  4. soild info but i was always told that moving a fish back and forth actually damages the gills and pulling the fish backwards cuts off the flow of oxygen to the gills.

  5. catch and release is the yankee way!! us natives never used such things as barbed metal hooks! we drained part of the river,gather the big fish and shrimp and crabs!! then released the water flow so the young would survive!!

  6. What about snipping the barb with pliers and then removing the hook? That would be the least traumatic.

  7. Great video! Michigan! Thank you for caring! Share with all other states that have fish preservation organizations please! They need it!

  8. But fish do feel pain! Most of these fishes during catch and release die within 6 days of release! They also feel tortured and in pain due to the hook in their lips. A recent study happened on the same. Now the fish isn't being eaten, but still killed 😰

  9. I know the law has to be the law but I feel terrible when I accidentally catch a fish in a way that I know it’s going to die, but I can’t legally keep it. Seems like such a waste.

  10. If im in a tournament im going to net the fish and if it's to small im going to trow it in the water not lay it down. How do yall like your fish cooked

  11. Fishing is one of the largest past times or hobbies and is a great way to get children away from their game console's and out in nature. There are thousands of video's on a number of aspects of fishing. When I was a beginner at the age if six in the north if Ireland I learned the basics and some of them lessons are just as important today age 44 years of age. Today age 44 I have two things that really bug me or should I say piss me right off so here it goes. First I would like to say 99% of fishermen and woman who fish are some of the nicest people you'd ever meet generally they go out of their way to say maybe help a kid properly set up his rod and line or show them what they are doing wrong. I mostly fish for trout,sea trout and Salmon here in Ireland . I am also in a number of online fishing communities and recently I have noticed this. Too many people either do not know how to handle a fish or they just don't care. Just like learning to cast everyone should take the time to learn how to handle fish . Ie: removing the hook in a way that causes as little stress and damage to the fish as possible. Too often I see video's of people reeling in a fish at 100 mph removing the hook real rough then literally throwing the fish back into the lake,river or sea. What has happened to enjoying playing a fish after all that's the part we all love. It good practice to wet your hands before handling a fish as our hands are hot and can damage the fish. It is also good practice after all the above has been done to return the fish as quickly as possible but handling the fish gently and submerging it in water while rocking it back and forth to return oxygen back into the fish gills. This will ensure the fish has a better chance of survival and makes "you a responsible fisherman/woman. One more small thing I also take a garbage bag when I go fishing I like to fish and here in Ireland some of the rivers and lakes are stunning but unfortunately not all of us leave the fishing spot as we found it. It doesn't take much effort to lift bits of fishing line and other people rubbish. Beer can act ect….these are small things but make a huge difference in this beautiful sport of fishing. Tight lines folks. And great video.

  12. I’m sorry but why can’t you find some other thing to enjoy. It’s one thing to fish for food but it just seems cruel for no reason. Most animals have a desire to survive and I don’t understand why a fish has to go through the terror of struggling to stay alive for no reason except cause it’s fun to the fisherman. Fish do feel fear and pain. I’m sure a hook in the mouth doesn’t feel good and I’m sure that the fish is more likely to get an infection.

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