Fish conservation catch & release of salmon & trout
- practical conservation

Fishing instructor, fly fishing tuition and fishing trips based in Scotland. Salmon and trout fishing advice, flies and articles.
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Catch and Release - a valuable conservation method (page 1 of 2)

ally returns a 30 lb  springer
Spring salmon, estimated weight 30 lb. is released.

Catch & Release is effective and easy fish conservation. Whatever species of fish you catch, releasing them is a great way of helping to preserve the sport for others. "Others" might be you on a different day, or it could be you when you catch the progeny of a fish you released. More importantly it could be someone very dear to you that benefits from your action, that gets the thrill and gains the experience. Isn't that a nice thought?

There is fabulous trout fishing in Alberta, Montana and New Zealand. Just a few of the places where catch and release is widely practiced. This is not a coincidence, it is a clear illustration of how fish survive to grow bigger, older and wiser, given the chance. These large fish are precious spawning stock, the very best. Removing them from the system has an enormous impact on the fecundity of the system, which means significantly less fish for the future. The success of catch and release is doubted by some individuals who fear that returned fish will not survive or who use that seed of doubt as an excuse to continue killing. Others consider that angling without killing is immoral and object to it. I see nothing immoral in protecting and enjoying my sport and continuing to support the river and its people.

If angling for wild trout and salmon is to survive forever we must concentrate on conservation. Anglers must embrace conservation, they must also unite and convince politicians that wild fish are worth saving. Leading by example is a strong signal. Take home a picture instead of a carcass, pin it up in the local bar, tell your friends how you helped to save fish. They will listen, appreciate and respect you all the more for caring for the future.

catch and release badge
Catch and release symbol

Man has always been able to catch fish by more efficient means than rod and line, but has discarded these methods because of the enjoyment that angling gives. Angling is as much about living with and being part of the countryside as it is about catching fish. It is the only field sport that requires the voluntary cooperation of its quarry. Surely it is now the turn of anglers to cooperate with the fish, to help them to survive so that our future generations may share the wonderful experiences that wild fish bring.

Recommended guidelines for practicing catch and release are published on the next page. If these are adhered to your fish will have the best possible chance of survival. Please use them. You can estimate your fish's weight using my fish weight 'o'meter.

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Copyright 2007 Alastair Gowans AAPGAI and FFF Master and THCI, APGAI. All rights reserved.