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Catch & Release: Being Part of the Natural Cycle

Every angler should make their best effort to be a good conservationist. Knowing which fish to harvest for food, and which to release, helps us make wise use of a renewable resource. Here are a few simple tips!

What Fish to Keep

• Small-to-medium sized fish. Smaller fish are more numerous and often better tasting.

• Fish which are injured or unlikely to survive if released.

What Fish to Release

• Large spawning-age fish. These fish are the survivors! Only a small percentage of fish live to reach spawning age, and their genetics are important to protect future generations.

• Trophy fish. But don’t worry! You can still have your trophy. Measure the length and girth of the fish and take a few photos. Your taxidermist can use these to make an identical replica of 

your catch which will last longer and look better than the original!

• Fish you don’t intend to use.

• Any fish which are under the legal size limit.

When you plan on releasing fish, there are a few things you can do to give them the best chance at surviving:

• Make sure you bring fish in quickly so they don’t become too exhausted.

• Don’t release fish in a strong current.

• Try to unhook fish when they’re still in the water – the less time they’re out of water, the better!

• Try pinching down barbs on hooks with pliers.

• Remember to wet your hands before handling fish to minimize damage to their protective slime coat.

• Don’t place your fingers in the gills of a fish, lift a fish by its tail, or squeeze a fish.

• Don’t keep fish on a stringer.

By putting something back, Canadians can protect the true spirit of fishing for generations to come.

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