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Catch and Release:     Releasing trout so that they will survive

Catch and Release Millers River

Every year many trout die unnecessarily, victims of poor release techniques and rough handling. Due to regulations such as the minimum size limit and maximum creel limit, anglers must release some fish that they catch.

Anglers may also choose to release a fish if it is not of sufficient quality to eat.

Often these fish if handled carefully have a good chance of surviving, regaining condition and becoming a worthwhile catch for another angler. Research indicates that annually anglers keep about 40% of the trout they catch. The other 60% are caught and released back into the water. If these fish are not released carefully, they swim away and die.

We urge anglers to follow these simple rules to increase the survival chances of trout that are released.

1. Never squeeze a fish or rip the hook out.

2. Never throw a fish back into the water.

3. Never put your fingers into the gills of a fish.

4. Never let a fish thrash around on the ground.

5. When ever possible, leave the fish in the water and remove the hook without touching the fish.

  • If this isn't possible, use a soft net to carefully lift the fish. Leaving the fish in the net, gently remove the hook using a hook remover or long nosed pliers.

  • If you must handle the fish, WET your hands first.

  • Hold the trout gently upside down to remove the hook as trout lie more quietly in this position.

  • Support the fish gently upright in the water until it swims away.

  • Try to use only single hook lures at all times to minimize trauma to the trouts mouth

  • Please see how to make a single hook lure out of a treble in just a few short minutes.

    With wire cutters cut two hooks off from treble hook.

    Using pliers pinch barb down to aid quick release

    A completed modified treble lure into a single hook lure with pinched barb

    Trout Resuscitation:

    If your catch is exhausted from a long, drawn out fight it will enter a state of almost unconsciousness. In this condition the trout will not be able to swim away when it is released.

    The trout will float belly up on the water. If this occurs or you suspect that your trout is too weak to swim away, you should perform trout CPR.

    To do this, place the trout in the water gently, supporting its mid-section. Move the trout back and forth gently until you feel it swim away.