This Is How To Handle Fish For Catch And Release


Proper catch and release techniques are vital in sustaining the future of our fisheries.

But what are the best ways to handle fish for a safe release?

Learn all about handling fish right here!

Catch And Release [VIDEO]

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As spring is upon us and more anglers are hitting the water, we find it to be a fitting time to go over some safe fish handling practices.

This is to ensure your safety as much as it is for a quick catch and release of a fish.

#1 – Be Organized

Make sure you have everything you need to land that fish, take a potential picture, and measure that fish before you even cast a line out.

The goal is to get the fish back into the water as quickly as possible.

It is not a good idea to bring the fish aboard and then begin to look for tools that can assist in its release.

You need to make sure your fish lip grippers, measuring tools, and landing net are all within reach prior to casting a line out.

#2 – Have The RIGHT Landing Net

As far as nets are concerned, the type of net you use has an enormous impact that you may not anticipate.

You need to use a rubber-coated landing net that has as small a mesh as possible.

The reason for using a rubber-coated landing net is that the rubber does not remove as much slime off the fish as other nets do.

Rubber-coated nets, however, do cost a bit more but in the long run, it is worth it to protect the fish we are after.

#3 – Keep The Fish In The Water As Much As You Can

It is so important to keep the fish we catch in the water for as long as possible.

You don’t want to bring that fish aboard immediately after catching it and then begin to look for tools to release it.

Think about it this way, that fish just fought for its life and is now tired and out of breath.

Make sure we are doing everything we can to keep the fish in the water when we are handling it.

#4 – Keep Your Fingers Away From The Gills

The gills are the most sensitive organ in the fish and can easily damage.

The best technique to avoid harming the gill plate is to use lip grippers in the fish’s mouth and then support its belly with your other hand.

Fish lip grippers are a helpful tool but try your best not to hold up the fish by just the lip grippers themselves.

Note: When handling any fish you’ve just caught, use proper judgment and caution to safely catch and release the fish.

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How big do you think Coach Pat Ogletree’s trout was?

Let us know down in the comments!

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Joe Rodriguez
2 years ago

Pat, I think that trout was pushing 30″ . congratulations!!! What a catch!!!!

John Dunkhase
2 years ago

Good video Pat! One of you guys should do a comprehensive video on all the different strategies and tools and scenarios for dehooking fish to minimize damage before releasing. Include discussion on gut hooking fish and when it’s best to just cut the line and leave the lure in the fish – will the fish still survive long-term. Thanks!

Joe Capelli
2 years ago

28″, 8 Pounds

Matthew Lanier
2 years ago

Great information Pat! Solid handling tips! Your trout was definitely bigger than mine! 💪😂

Last edited 2 years ago by Matthew Lanier
Ron Baran
2 years ago

Great points! The fish lip grip is a must, and i use a EGO rubber net, expensive, but wort it. That trout looks to be around 27.5 ” weighing 6.25 pounds.

Robert Houfek
2 years ago

A major tip you forgot, Pat, is to get your hands wet before handling a fish (especially trout), this will preserve their slime (which keeps them healthy and parasite free) and keep them from dying soon there after release. Same concept as the rubber landing net.

Nancy Branson
2 years ago

Thank you for showing where even the pro can get excited and make a handling mistake. Great video.

Chris Williams
2 years ago

Hey pat would you mind sharing what brand landing net you were using in the video?

James Wilson
2 years ago

I’d say 28”

Brian Hunter
2 years ago
Reply to  Pat Ogletree

Me too.

Lyle Crafton
2 years ago

Great video to further conserve a limited resource for next time.


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