In our previous blog, we started to go over some tips on how to properly release fish after you catch them. Here, we will continue our tips for safely practicing catch and release in Rocky Mountain National Park:
Do not drag your fish onto the shore. This puts the fish in danger in several ways: it disturbs its protective slime, it keeps it out of the water for too long, and it causes injuries. Keep your catch in the water to stop it from being harmed.
Keep your catch in the water
Do not bring your catch above water for more than five seconds at a time. If you want to take a picture with your catch, it is still possible, but be quick about it. Prepare the camera while your fish is still under the water and return it to the water immediately after the picture. If you do not get the shot, you can rest the fish in the water between attempts, but be reasonable.
Revive the fish
To release the fish, face it upstream and allow it to breathe normally. Hold the fish in the water and wait for its indication that it is ready to swim away. Release it in clear water; if the stream bed was disturbed, find moderately flowing, clear water to revive the fish.
Consider the temperature
Different types of fish have different reactions to increased temperature. For example, trout and salmon are less likely to survive a catch and release when the water temperature increases because they cannot handle the stress. Factor in the temperature of the water when you are fly fishing to ensure you can safely catch and release your target species.
At Kirk’s Fly Shop, we can teach you fly fishing techniques on our guided fly fishing trips in Rocky Mountain National Park. Contact us today for more information!