Fishing Tips: How to Successfully Release a Fish

Every day, Game & Fish receives several news alerts, press releases, hunting and fishing tips, and other emails from state wildlife agencies.

The many sources of information keeps us connected with what's going on in your neck of the woods, and helps us craft some of the content we offer to our readers.

Rainbow trout being released. (Shutterstock image)

This one caught our attention because of its simplicity.  Here's a great Q&A from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources:

Q: What are some tips for successfully releasing fish?

A: (From Henry Drewes, DNR regional fisheries manager) The most important thing to remember about how to release fish without injuring them is to be prepared. Have the necessary equipment readily available: needle-nose pliers, forceps, line clipper, a soft mesh or coated landing net — and oh yes, your camera.

It is critically important to minimize the time the fish is out of the water. If possible, unhook the fish while it is in the water. If taking a picture, hold larger fish horizontally with the head and body supported. Do not hold large fish vertically or by the gills or eyes.

Play and land the fish as quickly as possible and moisten your hands with water to protect the fish's slime layer and prevent post-release infections. If the fish is deeply hooked, cut the line inside the fish's mouth. If it is deeply hooked and bleeding, consider keeping the fish to eat as long as it is of legal size in the open angling season for that species.

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