Monday, May 12, 2014

Conserving Our Fly Fishing Resources

Steve Dorn releasing a Winter Steelhead
Releasing fish is a sensible way to preserve our heritage, and it assures us that wild fish will always be with us. If we don't release them, we are defeating our own purpose, so here are a few sound principles to follow. 

Barbless hooks are best to use, but if you use barbed hooks, keep the fish in the water when you extract the fly. If you cannot extract the hook, cut the leader and then release the fish. In most cases the hook will eventually work loose or rust out. Never gill the fish when you handle them; cradle them gently under the belly. 

If you play a fish longer than anticipated, you may have to help its regain strength and revive it. To do this, face the fish into the current and work its body back and forth. This action will force additional oxygen through its gills and assist in its rapid recovery. 

Lee Wulff's thoughts on this subject are fitting when he says, "Game fish are too valuable to be caught only once," and "The fish you release is a gift to another angle and remember, it may have been someone's gift to you."

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