OUTLIVE – Most western states have a take on rules and ethics involved in catching and releasing fish, especially trout.
With Montana’s general stream fishing season opening this weekend, the state Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department has released a summary of its recommendations to reduce stress on fish and increase their rate of survival after release.
The species of fish, water temperature and angler behavior affect the success of catch-and release fishing, biologists say. Trout species are most susceptible to dying after being hooked, reeled in, perhaps photographed and released.
Warm water stresses fish more than cold water.
How an angler fishes, choice of gear and how the angler handles the fish affect survival of released fish.
Some fly fishers are using inexpensive releasers that can be slid down the leader to easily flip a single-barbless hook out of a fish’s mount without need to touch the fish or remove it from the water.
Here’s Montana’s take on what anglers can do to maximize fish survival:
Land the fish quickly and do not play it to exhaustion.
Wet your hands before handling the fish.
Keep the fish in the water as much as possible where it gills can absorb oxygen.
Minimize the time out of water for photos.
Remove the hook gently. Use of artificial lures, single and barbless hooks can make hook removal faster and easier.
Let the fish recover before release. If the fish is hooked deeply or bleeding, you may have to snip the line at the fish’s mouth, or consider keeping it if regulations allow.
Consider limiting your catch. Even with catch-and-release, fish are stressed and some will die, biologists say.
Spokane River fundraiser at Arbor Crest
Water to Wine, a food, wine and auction fundraiser for Spokane River advocates, is set for 5-8 p.m. on June 3 at Arbor Crest Winery, 4705 N. Fruit Hill Rd., Spokane.
Auction proceeds will go toward increasing and improving Spokane River recreational access, habitat and shoreline restoration projects, cleanup activities, and community outreach, say organizers from the Spokane River Forum.
Tickets cost $75. Info: spokaneriver.net
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