Please Practice Catch And ReleaseAll of us here at Lake-Link love the sport of angling just as you do. However, the future of this precious resource is in all of our hands to protect for future generations. Below is some great information on how you can help be a responsible angler.
Catch & Release Guidelines
These guidelines are generic but remembering them will give all species of fish a greater chance of survival. A fish is too valuable to be caught and enjoyed only once, be responsible.
Try not to remove the fish from the water. If you must, be quick and gentle, do not squeeze the fish. Do not hold the fish near the gills or eyes (Pike, Muskie, Snook, etc.) Needle nose pliers, hemostats, de-hookers etc., will speed up the removal of a deep set hook.
To revive the fish, hold it under the belly and by the tail, keep it in an upright position underwater, do not move the fish back and forth** (this is also a good time to get a measurement and take a photo). If you are fishing in a river or stream, hold the fish facing the current. Be patient and give the fish as much time as it needs to recover and swim away on its own.
The most important survival factors are:
Always use the heaviest line possible for each species of fish. Again: the longer you fight a fish, the more lactic acid is built up, the more exhausted it becomes, the greater the chance it will not survive. This is particularly true when fishing large saltwater species such as billfish.
It would be ideal if all fish were hooked in either the upper or lower lip, unfortunately, this is not always the case. When fishing with small lures or live bait the chance for hooking a fish deep in the gullet or in the gills is very high. Try to back the hook out the way it went in. Never pull on the line when the hook is lodged deep in the gullet. Cutting the line and returning the fish to the water as quickly as possible will give it its greatest chance for survival. The longer a fish is out of water and the more you practice your surgical techniques, the less the fish has a chance to live.
When fishing depths of 30 feet or greater, you should bring a fish up slowly to the boat. This sometimes allows the fish to decompress (adjust to the change in water pressure). Pause while reeling the fish in and allow the air or gas from the fishes swim bladder to rise to the surface. See our attached news on "How to Deflate a Fish".
Playing a fish for an extended period of time in warm water increases its chance of dying. When the water temperature is high fish tire much more rapidly due to the increase of lactic acid that builds in their system. When fishing warm water get the fish to you as soon as possible, use a heavier line test than usual.
**There is a currently difference in opinion amongst the experts about whether or not to move the fish back and forth when reviving.