Catch and release

Catch and release is a practice within recreational fishing intended as a technique of conservation. After capture, the fish are unhooked and returned to the water. Often, a fast measurement and weighing of the fish is worthwhile. Using barbless hooks, it is often possible to release the fish without removing it from the water (a slack line is frequently sufficient).

Catch and release salmon
Releasing a rod-caught Atlantic salmon on the Little Gruinard in Wester Ross, Scotland
No Barbs - panoramio
"No Barbs" sign on Ribnik river in Bosnia

History of practice

Catch and Release sign Ireland multiple languages
Multilingual catch and release sign in Ireland.

In the United Kingdom, catch and release has been performed for more than a century by coarse fishermen in order to prevent target species from disappearing in heavily fished waters. Since the latter part of the 20th century, many salmon and sea trout rivers have been converted to complete or partial catch and release.

In the United States, catch and release was first introduced as a management tool in the state of Michigan in 1952 as an effort to reduce the cost of stocking hatchery-raised trout. Anglers fishing for fun rather than for food accepted the idea of releasing the fish while fishing in so-called "no-kill" zones. Conservationists have advocated catch and release as a way to ensure sustainability and to avoid overfishing of fish stocks. Lee Wulff, a New York-based fly angler, author and film maker, promoted catch and release as early as 1936 with the phrase "Game fish are too valuable to be caught only once."[1] Don Martinez a West Yellowstone, Montana fly shop owner promoted catch and release in his 1930–40s newsletters sent to Eastern anglers.[2]

In Australia, catch and release caught on slowly, with some pioneers practicing it in the 1960s, and the practice slowly became more widespread in the 1970s and 1980s. Catch and release is now widely used to conserve—and indeed is critical in conserving—vulnerable fish species like the large, long lived native freshwater Murray Cod and the prized, slowly growing, heavily fished Australian bass, heavily fished coastal species like Dusky Flathead and prized gamefish like striped marlin.

In Ireland, catch and release has been used as a conservation tool for Atlantic salmon and sea trout fisheries since 2003. A number of fisheries now have mandatory catch and release regulations.[3] Catch and release for coarse fish has been used by sport anglers for as long as these species have been fished for on this island. However catch and release for Atlantic salmon has required a huge turn about in how many anglers viewed the salmon angling resource. To encourage anglers to practice catch and release in all fisheries a number of government led incentives have been implemented.[4]

In Canada, catch and release is mandatory for some species. Canada also requires, in some cases, the use of barbless hooks to facilitate release and minimize injury.

In Switzerland and Germany, catch and release fishing is considered inhumane and is now banned.[5] In Germany, the Animal Welfare Act states that "no-one may cause an animal pain, suffering or harm without good reason".[6] This leaves no legal basis for catch and release due to its argued inherent lack of "good reason", and thus personal fishing is solely allowed for immediate food consumption. Additionally, it is against the law to release fish back into the water if they are above minimum size requirements and aren't a protected species or in closed season.

In 2011, the National Park Service in Yellowstone National Park began reversing decades of regulation that promoted catch and release and other techniques that protected fish populations. In the name of native fish conservation, they began mandatory kill regulations on rainbow and brook trout in the Lamar River drainage and encouraged unlimited taking and disposal of non-native species, including brown trout in some park waters.[7][8]


Professor with pinched barb
Professor with pinched barb

Over the last few decades there has been an emphasis on the development and refinement of science-based practices to increase the likelihood that released fish will survive (e.g. See research by Steven J. Cooke). That work led to the development of the UN FAO Technical Guidelines for Recreational Fisheries.[9] Effective catch and release fishing techniques avoid excessive fish fighting and handling times, avoid damage to fish skin, scale and slime layers by nets, dry hands and dry surfaces (that leave fish vulnerable to fungal skin infections), and avoid damage to throat ligaments and gills by poor handling techniques. It is also important to use a type of net that is not abrasive to the fish (such as a rubber coated net or lightweight mesh), because fish can easily damage themselves in a hard plastic-style net while thrashing.

The use of barbless hooks is an important aspect of catch and release; barbless hooks reduce injury and handling time, increasing survival. Frequently, fish caught on barbless hooks can be released without being removed from the water, and the hook(s) effortlessly slipped out with a single flick of the pliers or leader. Barbless hooks can be purchased from several major manufacturers or can be created from a standard hook by crushing the barb(s) flat with needle-nosed pliers. Some anglers avoid barbless hooks because of the erroneous belief that too many fish will escape. Concentrating on keeping the line tight at all times while fighting fish, equipping lures that do not have them with split rings, and using recurved point or "Triple Grip" style hooks on lures, will keep catch rates with barbless hooks as high as those achieved with barbed hooks.

One study looking at brook trout found that barbless hooks had no statistically significant effect on mortality rates when fish were hooked in the mouth, but observed that they did reduce mortalities compared to barbed hooks if fish were hooked deeper.[10] The study also suggested bait fishing does not have a significantly higher mortality when utilized in an active style, rather than a passive manner that allows the fish to swallow the bait.[10]

The effects of catch and release vary from species to species. A study of fish caught in shallow water on the Great Barrier Reef showed high survival rates (97%+).[11] for released fish if handled correctly and particularly if caught on artificial baits such as lures. Fish caught on lures are usually hooked cleanly in the mouth, minimizing injury and aiding release. Other studies have shown somewhat lower survival rates for fish gut-hooked on bait if the line is cut and the fish is released without trying to remove the hook.


Pesca no kill stura di lanzo
Catch & Release angling area on the Stura di Lanzo (Italy).

Catch and release is a conservation practice developed to prevent overharvest of fish stocks in the face of growing human populations, mounting fishing pressure, increasingly effective fishing tackle and techniques, inadequate fishing regulations and enforcement, and habitat degradation. Sports fishers have been practicing catch and release for decades, including with some highly pressured fish species.

Opponents of catch and release point out that fish are highly evolved vertebrates that share many of the same neurological structures that, in humans, are associated with pain perception. They point to studies that show that, neurologically, fish are quite similar to so-called higher vertebrates and that blood chemistry reveals that hormones and blood metabolites associated with stress are quite high in fish struggling against hook and line. The idea that fish do not feel pain in their mouths has been studied at the University of Edinburgh and the Roslin Institute by injecting bee venom and acetic acid into the lips of rainbow trout; the fish responded by rubbing their lips along the sides and floors of their tanks in an effort to relieve themselves of the sensation.[12] Lead researcher Dr. Lynne Sneddon wrote, "Our research demonstrates nociception and suggests that noxious stimulation in the rainbow trout has adverse behavioral and physiological effects. This fulfils the criteria for animal pain." A recent (2014) paper provides a critique of existing studies that purport to demonstrate that fish feel pain.[13]

James D. Rose of the University of Wyoming argues this may demonstrate a chemical sensitivity rather than pain and that the evidence for pain sensation in fish is ambiguous.[14][15]

During an Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation study, up to 43 percent of fish released after being caught died within six days as a result of inadequate holding and weigh in procedures during tournaments.[16]

More recent studies reported in Montana estimate that approximately 20% of released trout die from injuries or stress and even those that don't die, their injuries may significantly reduce their ability to feed and grow.[17]

Deep sea fishing

While a number of scientific studies (source/citation needed) have now found shallow water fish caught-and-released on fly and lure have extremely high survival rates (95–97%) and moderately high survival rates on bait (70–90%, depending on species, bait, hook size, etc.), emerging research suggests catch and release does not work very well with fish caught when deep sea fishing.

Most deep sea fish species suffer from the sudden pressure change when wound to the surface from great depths; these species cannot adjust their body's physiology quickly enough to follow the pressure change. The result is called "barotrauma". Fish with barotrauma will have their enormously swollen swim-bladder protruding from their mouth, bulging eyeballs, and often sustain other, more subtle but still very serious injuries. Upon release, fish with barotrauma will be unable to swim or dive due to the swollen swim-bladder. The common practice has been to deflate the swim bladder by pricking it with a thin sharp object before attempting to release the fish.

Emerging research[18] indicates both barotrauma and the practice of deflating the swimbladder are both highly damaging to fish, and that survival rates of caught-and-released deep-sea fish are extremely low. However, barotrauma requires that fish be caught at least 30–50 feet below the surface. Many surface caught fish, such as billfish, and all fish caught from shore, do not meet this criterion and thus do not suffer barotrauma.

See also


  1. ^ Giudice, Gary. "A Hero of Mine: Remembering Lee Wulff". Outdoor Writers Association of America. Retrieved 2014-11-15.
  2. ^ Grant, George (Spring 1982). "Don Martinez-Western Dry Fly Master" (PDF). American Fly Fisher. 9 (2): 9–14. Archived from the original (pdf) on 2014-11-29. Retrieved 2014-11-15.
  3. ^ Catch and Release for Atlantic Salmon Central Fisheries Board Website
  4. ^ Catch and Release Incentive Scheme Central Fisheries Board Website
  5. ^ Animal Rights Law Passed in Switzerland – Catch and Release Fishing Banned
  6. ^ German Animal Welfare Act
  7. ^ "Reluctant anglers drafted in war on fish". Fox News. 2015-03-25. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  8. ^ "2015 Yellowstone National Park Fishing Regulations" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 2014-04-13.
  9. ^ [1].
  10. ^ a b Dubois, R. B.; Kuklinski, K. E. (2004). "Effect of Hook Type on Mortality, Trauma, and Capture Efficiency of Wild, Stream-Resident Trout Caught by Active Baitfishing". North American Journal of Fisheries Management. 24 (2): 617. doi:10.1577/M02-172.1.
  11. ^ Australian shallow reef fish study
  12. ^ Vantressa Brown, "Fish Feel Pain, British Researchers Say," Agence France-Presse, 1 May 2003 Archived 14 October 2009 at the Portuguese Web Archive
  13. ^ Rose, J. D.; Arlinghaus, R.; Cooke, S. J.; Diggles, B. K.; Sawynok, W.; Stevens, E. D.; Wynne, C D L. (2014). "Can fish really feel pain?". Fish and Fisheries. 15: 97–133. doi:10.1111/faf.12010.
  14. ^ "Anglers carp at 'fish pain' theory,", CNN, April 30, 2003
  15. ^ Rose, J.D. (2003) A Critique of the paper: "Do fish have nociceptors: Evidence for the evolution of a vertebrate sensory system" Archived 2008-11-19 at the Wayback Machine In: Information Resources on Fish Welfare 1970-2003, Animal Welfare Information Resources No. 20. H. E. Erickson, Ed., U. S. Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, MD. pp. 49–51
  16. ^ Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. "Evaluation of Procedures to Reduce Delayed Mortality of Black Bass Following Summer Tournaments." Federal Aid Grant No. F-50-R, Fish Research for Oklahoma Waters, Project No. 8, March 1, 1996 through February 28, 1997
  17. ^ Drews, Debby (Spring 2016). "Like a Fish Out of Water". 17 (1). Outside Bozeman: 70–74. Retrieved April 17, 2016.
  18. ^ 100% of Jew fish landed from water 15 to 20 meters deep have life-threatening injuries. Official Barotrauma results.

External links

Anderson Lake (California)

Anderson Lake, informally called Anderson Reservoir, is an artificial lake in Santa Clara County, California, United States, near Morgan Hill. A 4,275-acre (1,730 ha) county park surrounds the reservoir and provides limited fishing ("catch and release"), picnicking, and hiking activities. Although swimming is prohibited, boating, water-skiing and jet-skiing are permitted in the reservoir.The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment has issued a safe advisory for any fish caught in Anderson Lake due to elevated levels of mercury and PCBs.


Angling is a method of fishing by means of an "angle" (fish hook). The hook is usually attached to a fishing line and the line is often attached to a fishing rod. Modern fishing rods are usually fitted with a fishing reel that functions as a mechanism for storing, retrieving and paying out the line. Tenkara fishing and cane pole fishing are two techniques that do not use a reel. The hook itself can be dressed with bait, but sometimes a lure, with hooks attached to it, is used in place of a hook and bait. A bite indicator such as a float, and a weight or sinker are sometimes used.

Angling is the principal method of sport fishing, but commercial fisheries also use angling methods such as longlining or trolling. Catch and release fishing is increasingly practiced by recreational fishermen. In many parts of the world, size limits apply to certain species, meaning fish below and/or above a certain size must, by law, be released.

The species of fish pursued by anglers vary with geography. Among the many species of salt water fish that are caught for sport are swordfish, marlin, tuna, while in Europe cod and bass are popular targets. In North America the most popular fresh water sport species include bass, pike, walleye, muskellunge, yellow perch, trout, salmon, crappie, bluegill and sunfish. In Europe a large number of anglers fish for species such as carp, pike, tench, rudd, roach, European perch, catfish and barbel.

Book discussion club

A book discussion club is a group of people who meet to discuss a book or books that they have read and express their opinions, likes, dislikes, etc. It is more often called simply a book club, a term that is also used to describe a book sales club, which can cause confusion. Other frequently used terms to describe a book discussion club include reading group, book group, and book discussion group. Book discussion clubs may meet in private homes, libraries, bookstores, online forums, pubs, and in cafés or restaurants over meals or drinks.

A practice also associated with book discussion, common reading program or common read, involves institutions encouraging their members to discuss select books in group settings; common reading programs are largely associated with educational institutions encouraging their students to hold book discussion meetings.

Butterfly watching

Butterfly watching (also called butterflying) is a hobby concerned with the observation and study of butterflies. It also includes the "catch and release" of butterflies. There are clubs, handbooks, checklists, and festivals devoted to the activity.

The Canada Day and Fourth of July annual butterfly count, a census of species by butterfly watchers throughout North America, is an example of citizen science.

Calero Reservoir

Calero Reservoir is an artificial lake in the Santa Teresa Hills south of San Jose, California, United States. A 4,471-acre (1,809 ha) county park surrounds the reservoir and provides limited fishing ("catch-and-release"), picnicking, hiking, and horseback riding activities. Although swimming is prohibited, boating, water-skiing and jet-skiing are permitted in the reservoir.The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment released a "Do Not Eat" warning regarding eating any fish caught from this reservoir based on the elevated mercury level.

Catch and Release (film)

Catch and Release is a 2006 American romantic comedy film directed by Susannah Grant in her directorial debut, and starring Jennifer Garner, Timothy Olyphant, Kevin Smith, Sam Jaeger and Juliette Lewis. In the film, after a woman's fiancé dies, she seeks comfort in his friends, learning his secrets while falling for his best friend. Filming took place in 2005 in Vancouver and Boulder, Colorado. Catch and Release premiered at the Austin Film Festival in October 2006 and was released in the United States on January 26, 2007. The film was panned by critics and bombed at the box office, earning $16 million against a $25 million budget.

Catch and release (disambiguation)

Catch and release is a form of recreational fishing. Catch and release may also refer to:

Catch & Release (album), album by Matt Simons

"Catch & Release" (song), song by Matt Simons

Catch and Release (film), a 2006 romantic comedy film

Catch and release, a practice in patent law

Catch and release (immigration), a practice in United States immigration enforcement

Trap–neuter–return, a strategy for controlling feral animal populations

Catch and release (immigration)

In United States immigration enforcement, "catch and release" refers to a practice of releasing a migrant to the community while he or she awaits hearings in immigration court, as an alternative to holding them in immigration detention. The migrants whom U.S. immigration enforcement agencies have allowed to remain in the community pending immigrant hearings have been those deemed low risk, such as children, families, and those seeking asylum.There is no "hard-and-fast definition" of the phrase, which is pejorative. Rather, the phrase refers to a "collection of policies, court precedents, executive actions and federal statutes spanning more than 20 years, cobbled together throughout Democratic and Republican administrations." The Trump administration has used the phrase as a catch-all term for laws or policies preventing the holding of apprehended migrants in immigration detention.

Coyote Lake (Santa Clara County, California)

Coyote Lake (also known as Coyote Reservoir) is an artificial lake in Santa Clara County, California, between Morgan Hill and Gilroy.

The reservoir is impounded by Coyote Dam, a 140-foot (43 m) high, 980-foot (300 m) long, earth and rock dam built in 1936. It holds 23,244 acre feet (28,671,009 m3) of water when full. It is the second largest reservoir owned by the Santa Clara Valley Water District.A 4,595-acre county park ("Coyote-Bear") surrounds the reservoir, and provides camping (RVs and tents), fishing ("catch-and-release"), picnicking, and hiking activities. Swimming is not allowed by order of the Santa Clara Valley Water District. Power boating, jetskiing, waterskiing, sailing, canoeing/kayaking and fishing are all allowed in the reservoir. The boat launch ramp is located two miles north of the visitor center. It has two docks, a 3-lane concrete ramp, paved parking and a restroom. For fisherman, the lake contains bluegill, black crappie, channel catfish, carp and black bass. The reservoir is closed to all boating between mid-October and mid-April.

Elbow River

The Elbow River is a river in southern Alberta, Canada. It flows from the Canadian Rockies to the city of Calgary, where it merges into the Bow River.

The Elbow River is popular among canoers, rafters, campers and hikers and runs through several features including Allen Bill Pond, Forgetmenot Pond, and Elbow Falls. Sections of the river are closed to fishing, or are "catch-and-release" waters.

The water flow of the Elbow River fluctuates significantly, and in June 2005 a flood occurred that was so severe (the heaviest in at least two centuries according to Alberta Government estimates) that the water flowed over the Glenmore Dam. Approximately 1,500 Calgarians living downstream were evacuated. Another, more extensive flood began on 20 June 2013, with tens of thousands of evacuations.

Environmental impact of fishing

The environmental impact of fishing includes issues such as the availability of fish, overfishing, fisheries, and fisheries management; as well as the impact of fishing on other elements of the environment, such as by-catch. These issues are part of marine conservation, and are addressed in fisheries science programs. There is a growing gap between the supply of fish and demand, due in part to world population growth.The journal Science published a four-year study in November 2006, which predicted that, at prevailing trends, the world would run out of wild-caught seafood in 2048. The scientists stated that the decline was a result of overfishing, pollution and other environmental factors that were reducing the population of fisheries at the same time as their ecosystems were being annihilated. Yet again the analysis has met criticism as being fundamentally flawed, and many fishery management officials, industry representatives and scientists challenge the findings, although the debate continues. Many countries, such as Tonga, the United States, Australia and Bahamas, and international management bodies have taken steps to appropriately manage marine resources.Reefs are also being destroyed by overfishing because of the huge nets that are dragged along the ocean floor while trawling. Many corals are being destroyed and as a consequence, the ecological niche of many species is at stake.

Game fish

Game fish are fish pursued by recreational anglers. They can be freshwater or saltwater fish. Game fish can be eaten after being caught. Some game fish are also targeted commercially, particularly salmon.

Glossary of patent law terms

This is a list of legal terms relating to patents. A patent is not a right to practice or use the invention, but a territorial right to exclude others from commercially exploiting the invention, granted to an inventor or his successor in rights in exchange to a public disclosure of the invention.

List of Steven Universe episodes

Steven Universe is an American animated television series created by Rebecca Sugar for Cartoon Network. The series revolves around Steven Universe (voiced by Zach Callison), who protects his hometown of Beach City alongside Garnet (voiced by Estelle), Amethyst (voiced by Michaela Dietz) and Pearl (voiced by Deedee Magno Hall), three magical alien guardians known as the Crystal Gems. The series was renewed for a fourth and fifth season on March 30, 2016. On July 21, 2018, it was announced that a Steven Universe television film, Steven Universe: The Movie, was in production, which is set to be released in late 2019.Episodes have variously been broadcast once a week, most recently on Monday nights, in blocks of multiple new episodes in the course of a week, which are marketed as "Stevenbombs", or back-to-back as specials with an umbrella title. As of January 21, 2019, 160 episodes of Steven Universe have aired, concluding the fifth season.

Morgan Run Natural Environment Area

Morgan Run Natural Environment Area is a protected area in Carroll County, Maryland. Located on 1,930 acres (7.8 km2), Morgan Run features hiking and equestrian trails, catch and release trout fishing, and deer hunting.

Mulkear River

The River Mulcair, or Mulkear, rises in the Slieve Felim Mountains and Silvermine Mountains in Ireland, flows through the east of County Limerick before joining the River Shannon near Annacotty. It flows through Counties Limerick and Tipperary. The principal tributaries are the Dead River, the Bilboa River and the Newport River (Tipperary).The River Mulcair is an Atlantic salmon and brown trout river with a March 1 to September 30 fishing season. The river is currently designated as catch and release for Salmon.

Tag and release

Tag and release is a form of catch and release fishing in which the angler attaches a tag to the fish, records data such as date, time, place, and type of fish on a standardized postcard, and submits this card to a fisheries agency or conservation organization. Anglers who catch tagged fish report their location, date, and time, as well as the tag number to established points of contact. South Carolina has had such a program since 1974.

A tag and release program is in place in NSW, Australia.

Timothy Olyphant

Timothy David Olyphant (; AHL-ə-fint; born May 20, 1968) is an American actor and producer. He made his acting debut in an Off-Broadway theater in 1995 in The Monogamist, winning the Theatre World Award for his performance, and then originated David Sedaris' The Santaland Diaries in 1996. He branched out to film; in the early years of his career, he was often cast in supporting villainous roles, most notably in Scream 2 (1997), Go (1999), A Man Apart (2003) and The Girl Next Door (2004). He came to the attention of a wider audience with his portrayal of Sheriff Seth Bullock in HBO's western Deadwood (2004–2006, 2019). He had starring roles in films, including Catch and Release (2006), Hitman (2007), A Perfect Getaway (2009) and The Crazies (2010). He played the main antagonist, Thomas Gabriel, in Live Free or Die Hard (2007). Olyphant was a recurring guest star in season two of the FX legal thriller Damages (2009).

The best-known performance of Olyphant's career to date has been as Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens in FX's modern-day Kentucky western Justified (2010–2015), for which he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 2011. Olyphant had guest appearances in numerous television sitcoms including The Office (2010), The Mindy Project (2013) and The Grinder (2015–2016), for which he won a Critics' Choice Award. He currently stars in the Netflix series Santa Clarita Diet (2017–present).

Uvas Reservoir

Uvas Reservoir is an artificial lake located west of San Martin, California in the United States. The reservoir is surrounded by a 626-acre (253 ha) park managed by the Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation Department. The park provides limited fishing ("catch-and-release"), picnicking, and hiking activities. Boating is not permitted in the reservoir.

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