If you do not intend to eat the fish, it is wise to safely release your catch. Over the next two blogs, your favorite fly fishing shop in Estes Park will go over some tips to ensure that you catch and release your fish in such a way that helps the fish survive.

Stan DudaUse barbless or crimped hooks

It may seem obvious, but barbless hooks can be removed with much greater ease than barbed hooks. Using barbed hooks will more often than not damage your catch, and is not increasing your landing rate substantially.

Don’t try to perform surgery

If your catch is hooked too deep to be easily removed, do not attempt to remove it, as more often than not, you will end up mortally wounding the fish. Cut the tippet as closely as you can and leave the hook. Eventually, the hook will corrode, the tissue around it will heal, or the fish will shed it by itself.

Use a rubber net

A great way to avoid handling the fish at all is to use a rubber net. This also allows you to land fish more quickly. Opt for a rubber net over a nylon net.

Wet your hands

Dry hands are more likely to remove the layer of slime on a fish, which is essential to protect the fish from bacteria, parasites, and fungus. Therefore, always wet your hands before handling a fish.

Handle the head gently

Fish’s heads are very fragile. In fact, head injuries are the most common cause of fish death after release. Be gentle with the fish to ensure that you do not cause it injury to its head.

In our next blog, we will continue to go over some tips to help you safely catch and release fish. Contact Kirk’s Fly Shop for Estes Park fly fishing!