Skip to main content

Fishing Tips: How to Successfully Release a Fish

Fishing Tips: How to Successfully Release a Fish
There's great trout fishing not too far from the hustle and bustle of downtown Portland (Shutterstock image)

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.


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Tackle Test 2020: Shakespeare Ugly Stik Carbon

Tackle Test 2020: Shakespeare Ugly Stik Carbon

Tackle Test 2020: Shakespeare Ugly Stik Carbon

P-Line Copolymer Topwater Fishing Line

P-Line Copolymer Topwater Fishing Line

Get the inside info on the new topwater-specific fishing line; ICAST Fishing Gear Guide.

MLF Pros: What

MLF Pros: What's Your Go-To Lure?

When all else fails, here's what these pros tie on.

Minn Kota Raptor

Minn Kota Raptor

Associate Brand Manager Adam Knowles, from Minn Kota, talks with Rob Neuman from In-Fisherman, about the all-new Raptor shallow water anchor.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? You'll need a cartridge that lives up to the expectations demanded at ranges up to and beyond 500, 600 or even 1,000 yards. Try these different loads until you find the one that thumps steel at long ranges consistently.10 Best Long-Range Rifle Cartridges Ever Made Ammo

10 Best Long-Range Rifle Cartridges Ever Made

David Hart - January 14, 2015

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? You'll need a cartridge that lives up to...

Here's how to get your rig ready for archery deer season.19 Ways to Get Your Crossbow, Compound Ready for Opening Day Bows

19 Ways to Get Your Crossbow, Compound Ready for Opening Day

Bob Robb - August 21, 2020

Here's how to get your rig ready for archery deer season.

Now's the time to finalize plans for the perfect deer season opener.10 Expert Deer Hunting Preparation Tips for Opening Day Whitetail

10 Expert Deer Hunting Preparation Tips for Opening Day

M.D. Johnson - August 26, 2020

Now's the time to finalize plans for the perfect deer season opener.

In need of a rugged container to sip from in the backcountry? We've got you covered. From tumblers to bottles to flasks (and even clever bottle openers), we've rounded up some of the best bar gear for the outdoors.Ultimate Outdoor Bar Gear Roundup The Deck

Ultimate Outdoor Bar Gear Roundup

Chelsie Walters and Jessyca Sortillon - August 31, 2020

In need of a rugged container to sip from in the backcountry? We've got you covered. From...

See More Trending Articles

More Fishing How-To

This overlooked saltwater species is hard-fighting, plentiful and delicious. What's not to love?In Praise of Sheepshead Fishing Saltwater

In Praise of Sheepshead Fishing

John N. Felsher - August 07, 2020

This overlooked saltwater species is hard-fighting, plentiful and delicious. What's not to...

Use a weightless bobber rig for finicky panfish.No Need to Weight for Summer Bluegills Panfish

No Need to Weight for Summer Bluegills

Joel Nelson - August 05, 2020

Use a weightless bobber rig for finicky panfish.

When it comes to lure selection for summer bass, most anglers don't think of crankbaits first. Here's why you should change that thinking.The Quintessential Guide to Summer Cranking for Bass Bass

The Quintessential Guide to Summer Cranking for Bass

Pete Anderson - August 13, 2020

When it comes to lure selection for summer bass, most anglers don't think of crankbaits first....

Mountain lakes offer exceptional trout fishing in late summer, early fall. Here's where to go, some tackle recommendations and what to offer them at the end of your line.Best Trout Fishing Out West: Where, When and How Fishing

Best Trout Fishing Out West: Where, When and How

Gary Lewis - September 15, 2020

Mountain lakes offer exceptional trout fishing in late summer, early fall. Here's where to go,...

See More Fishing How-To

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now