Catch & Release Tips and Techniques

Proper Tools for Effective Catch-and-Release

  • Needle nose pliers, hemostats or special hook-removing devices; line cutters for deeply hooked fish; landing net or cradle; wet cloth glove and camera (if you want to take a picture).
  • Landing nets or cradles should be constructed with non-abrasive, knotless materials such as rubber or tangle-free coated nylon. Cradles are recommended for larger fish such as pike.  
  • Gloves with non-absorbent grip. Fish have a protective mucus coating to protect their skin and certain absorbent materials can damage this coating. 
 

 

Angling Techniques for Effective Catch-and-Release

  • Land the fish as quickly as possible to avoid fish exhaustion. The tackle used should match the size of the fish targeted; avoid intentionally using light tackle to prolong the catch.
  • Catch-and-release fishing in depths greater than nine metres (30 feet) should be avoided, as most Saskatchewan fish species aside from lake trout are unable to rapidly adjust to the changes in water pressure as they are pulled towards the surface, resulting in greater mortality of released fish.
  • Venting of distended swim bladders, or fizzing, is discouraged, as it can cause stress and has the potential to harm other internal organs.
  • Use unscented artificial lures rather than bait or other organic materials (e.g. dough balls, corn) to minimize deep hooking of fish.
  • Limit your angling during periods of extreme heat or cold, as extreme temperatures can contribute to post-release mortality.

 

 

Fish Handling Techniques for Effective Catch-and-Release

  • Minimizing air exposure is one of the most important factors in limiting post-release mortality. Ideally, fish should be released without removing them from the water.
  • Single, barbless and/or circle hooks can help reduce handling time and air exposure.
  • Handle the fish as quickly (under 30 seconds) and as little as possible. Use a wet cloth glove or wet hand to prevent damage
    to the fish's protective mucus coating.
  • Once a fish is landed, be careful not to let it flop around as this can lead to injuries.
  • Do not hold or support a fish's weight by the gills, gill cover or eyes. If a fish must be held, hold it in a horizontal position, with one hand placed under the forward belly area and the other hand gently around the tail area. This will help minimize damage to the fish's spine and internal organs.
  • If a fish is hooked in a vital area such as the gullet, gill or eye, consider keeping the fish if regulations allow, as post-release survival of these fish is greatly reduced.
  • If you must release a deeply hooked fish, consider cutting the line close to the hook and follow proper release techniques.
  • Hold a fish horizontal in the water until it is fully revived and swims away on its own. Move the fish in an S-shaped pattern to run water through its gills.
  • If you must release fish that have been retained in a livewell, proper management of your livewell is crucial. Stress from prolonged confinement and low dissolved oxygen levels from overcrowding and/or warm water can result in higher mortality rates. Limit the number of fish in a livewell to 0.1 kg of fish per litre of water, or roughly one pound of fish per gallon of water. Limiting retention time in a livewell can also help reduce stress and improve post-release mortality.
  • If a fish is bleeding or cannot be revived, count that fish towards your limit if regulations allow.

 

Source: Saskatchewan Fisheries and Oceans

 

Bass

Bass

Common lures for Bass include: Curl tail grubs Crank baits Skirted-jigs Topwater... 

Perch

Perch

Common lures for Perch include: Crawfish Jigs Crankbait Spinners Spoons Grubs  

Walleye

Walleye

Common lures for walleye include: Crankbaits Jig Heads with a Curl Tail... 

Trout

Trout

Common lures for Trout include: Spoons Crawfish Flies Spinners Worms / Grubs  

Pike & Pickerel

Pike & Pickerel

Common lures for Pike & Pickerel include: Jig Heads with a Curl...