May 11, 2021

Catch and Release for Salmon


While further studies are needed to assess the effects of catch and release (e.g. on salmon caught early in the season) the research to date indicates that the survival following catch and release can be high, although survival is influenced by water temperature (e.g. studies have shown that at water temperatures greater than 18 O C mortality can exceed 30%).  C & R correctly carried out will increase the fish`s chance of survival and ability to spawn.  Fish which have been played quickly and handled gently will have the best chance of surviving.  Where the intention is to return Atlantic salmon to the water after capture the following guidelines should assist :

·        always use a knotless net.

·        never hold up a salmon by its tail.

·        minimise the time the fish is exposed to air.

·        unhook the fish in the water.

·        allow fish to recover in landing net prior to unhooking.

·        use tackle of sufficient strength.

·        reduce handling as this can  remove the protective mucus.


Fish intended for release should be kept in the water.  Exposing a fish to the air for even a short period, for example to take a photograph, can significantly reduce its chance of survival.  The weight of the fish should be estimated from its length so as to avoid removing the fish from the water.  Conversion tables  can be developed for appropriate river stocks   Handling of the fish should be minimised but when necessary the fish should be gently supported from beneath but must not be squeezed or held by the gills.  If the hook cannot be removed, the leader should be cut close to the hook prior to release.  After removing the hook, or cutting the leader if the hook could not be removed, the fish should be supported in the water facing into the current and allowed to recover until it swims off. 


Extracts from NASCO document and EA “Impact of C&R angling Practices on Survival of Salmon”.


You might also like to look at the Angling Trust`s excellent video "Catch and Release"


Photographs which fail to follow these guidelines will not be used on the web site.

Category: General
Posted by: editor