So we’ve decided that if at all possible, we’re going to try to tailor our Friday Blog Roundups to specific subject areas each week. With heavy rains in northeast Ohio and the fall run fast approaching, this is as good a time as any Friday to dive into the techniques and benefits of good catch and release practices.
Here’s the caveat. Nothing starts a good argument like talking about catch and release. Simply put, there are those who subscribe to it and those who do not. To each their own. However, here at DoubleHauled, we can say that we subscribe to it. BUT, you will definitely see in some of our older pictures that we haven’t always done it correctly. We’ve always released our fish, but we may not have always handled them the best we could have. The grip and grin opportunity is a hard mistress to turn away. That’s part of the purpose of this blog though. We don’t write this blog to say that we’re any kind of authority on anything. We’re still learning too and that’s why we write. And along with us learning how to tie flies or how to strip a streamer, we’ve also been learning how to handle a fish in a way that gives that fish the best possible chance for survival after release. We’re nothing if we don’t learn from our mistakes.
First we’d like to start out with a great article detailing the proper methods for practicing catch and release, written by Dave Stuart who also has his own blog over at Wet Fly Swing.
Next, I actually read this article in the print version of Fly Fisherman Magazine and was happy I was able to find it electronically as well. It’s the story of a particularly gorgeous and enormous New Zealand brown trout who has become a bit of a celebrity thanks to anglers using proper catch and release methods. This is the benefits of catch and release in action. (Note: for some reason this page sometimes loads poorly but seems to work if you hit refresh)
Next is a little post I found that reads more like a scholarly journal (sorry, I’m a librarian). It may be a little dry, but if you’d like to see some actual data demonstrating the benefits of catch and release, here ya go.
And finally, one of the things anglers should be aware of, especially those targeting spawning species like steelhead, is to avoid their redds. If you’re not aware, a redd is essentially the steelhead’s nest. Here, the next generation of trophy fish are lying vulnerable in the gravel and our boots trampling through them or even targeting fish while they’re in the act of spawning is just plain bad karma. If they’re in a redd, leave them alone. There’s plenty of good water where the fish are actively feeding to fish so you don’t need to be yanking them off the redds or shredding up their eggs with your boot cleats. Below is an article from Gink and Gasoline about how to identify redds.
So that concludes this week’s blog roundup and you can take it for what it is. This is what we do and we’d love it if you did the same, but ultimately its your choice. But if we’re on the river and I see you woefully mishandling a fish, expect the stinkiest of stinkeyes from yours truly.