With warmer weather comes warmer water temps. Warmer water has less oxygen and increases the risk of fish mortality. This is not about judgement; it is simply about moving forward. Fishing the Truckee River on a Monday morning and seeing the number of dead fish is quite the eye opener on just how poorly anglers are treating the resource. We are all guilty of mishandling a fish but I urge to extra careful especially during these warmer conditions.
Here are a few tips to making sure you fish survive after you release them:
- Fish barbless hooks.
- Use the heaviest tippet you can get away with. Lighter tippets can extend the fight
- Avoid fishing in the middle of the day - Water temps are at their highest during the middle of the day.
- Don’t over play the fish - Practice fighting fish. Don’t be afraid to break a few off to find out just how hard you can pull on 4 or 5x.
- Use a rubberized net. Netting a fish is the easiest and least invasive way to land a fish.
- Wet your hands before you touch the fish.
- Keep the fish in the water.
- Don’t squeeze the fish
- Revive the fish by pointing the fish upstream into the current.
- Ditch the grip and grin and photograph the fish in the water.
A photo with the fish in or VERY near the water tells other anglers that you are an experienced fisherman who respects the fish and not just greenhorn who tied into a big fish. Again, we all have mistakes in our past this is about moving forward.
Photo from: http://theflysyndicate.blogspot.com/