and release guidelines
Environmentally friendly tips for fishing
Tenn. (Aug. 2, 2006) – For many, the ideal way to spend
National Catfish Month (or any month) is fishing in one of the
region’s many rivers, lakes or streams. Fishing is a great
way to enjoy the outdoors and the Tennessee Aquarium advocates
catch and release for a number of reasons.
more fish returned to the river means more fish available
to catch tomorrow, next week or even next year. This is especially
true of species that return to the lake after spawning, as
they can return to the river year after year. In addition,
fish that survive to spawn will increase the population for
following are helpful catch and release guidelines:
a fish to exhaustion may be fun for you, but for the fish
the struggle may be a matter of life or death. Much like
in humans, lactic acid builds up in their muscles from over-exertion
and the resulting sore or weakened muscles could prove dangerous
for the fish.
Fish can suffocate if out of water for even a short time,
so it is important to leave the fish in the water while
removing the hook.
If you must take a fish out of the water, wet your hands
first. The mucous on the body of the fish protects it in
the water from bacteria, infection and disease. Your dry
hands will wipe away that mucous, reducing its ability to
ward off ailments.
A fish's primary breathing organs are its gills. When handling
a fish, be careful not to grasp it around the gills. And
be mindful that its delicate organs are easily damaged by
a simple squeeze.
A fish's body and internal organs are designed to rest comfortably
in a horizontal position. Pulling a fish abruptly to a vertical
position could jar its organs and cause internal damage.
Take special care to allow the water's natural cradling
to support the fish after the catch.
For fish, there is nothing safe about a net. If you feel
you must use a net, choose a soft mesh material rather than
a hard, abrasive nylon.
Do not attempt to remove a swallowed or deeply set hook.
Cut the line as close as possible. Fish have a far greater
chance of recovering from a swallowed hook than a wounded
The survival of a released fish is strongly dependent on
where it is hooked. Consider using single hooks or barbless
hooks, since this will make releasing the fish much easier.
When released, even the fittest fish may need a little resuscitation
before resuming its natural behavior. If the fish needs
a little nurturing, move it back and forth in the current
to get water flowing over the gills. Most fish recover in
a minute or so and readily swim away.
If you are on a stream or river, try to release the fish
in calm water. It might not be up to the challenge of fighting
fast flowing water.