Oh yeah, and take pictures.
We live by this at CRO Flies, after all Lee Wulff once said…
“Game fish are to valuable to be caught only once.”
Here are some catch and release best practices.
- Use barb-less hooks.
- Don’t over play the fish. This leads to lactic acid build up.
- Use a safe net.
- Be cautious of water temps. Warm water contains less dissolved oxygen.
- Keep fish in the water as long and as much as possible.
- Get your hands wet before handling the fish. This will keep you from removing the protective slime.
- Holding large fish by the jaw or gill vertically can tear internal connective tissue.
- Get the fish back in the water every 20 seconds or less.
- Don’t keep a fish out of the water for more than a minute.
- Keep the fish close to the water when you handle it. You wouldn’t like to be dropped on rocks, would you?
- It is best practice to keep your hands out of the gill plate and under no circumstances should you grab the actual gill rakers (red stuff). Technically gill plating can be safe but its a gamble so it is probably best to avoid it.
- Your fish should be dripping water in a photo. They need to stay wet and it looks cool too.
- Revive fish gently and carefully.