Catch and Release
How to avoid harming a salmon that is being released: Follow these advices!
Do not play the salmon longer than necessary, because then it becomes completely exhausted and might not recover. Get it to shore as fast as you can. Avoid to pull the fish onto dry land. Do NOT use a gaff or a tailer. A net is useful, preferably with a knotless mesh.
Avoid taking the fish out of the water. Keep control of the fish with one hand around the tail and the other gently supporting the belly. Avoid pressing the belly or putting your fingers into the gills. This can harm the fish. Do NOT lift the fish out of the water by its tail, this can cause the spine to break.
Remove the hook from the mouth of the fish, using a plier is very helpful and reduces the time. If the hook has a difficult location and is difficult to remove, it is better to cut the leader and leave the hook – after some days the hook will normally come out by itself. When the fish is freed from the hook, place the fish in an upright position (not on the side) and move it gently (in the water) out to deeper and more current-rich water with the head of the fish against the current. Make sure the gills move (that the fish is breathing) and that the fish is recovering, while you support it/keep it upright and against the current.
This is the time for a quick measure of the fish’ length and eventually a quick photo. This should be done with the fish in the water or as short as possible above water (do NOT place the fish on dry land for measurement og photos).
Continue to support the fish until it wants to swim away by itself. Then it is time to let it go! And you can enjoy the great sight of seeing it going back to the depths of the river!
Equipment useful for the best possible, harmless release
A good plier is necessary for all serious salmon anglers. Those fishing with earthworm needs to be especially careful. Research documents that the use of live/natural bait often cause deeper hooking with higher mortality than artificial bait. The use of a circle hook will reduce deep hooking when fishing with worms. Using the plier, you can also bend down the barb on your hooks, to ease the removal of the hook. This can be done both on flies, spoons and hooks for worm.
You can use your rod (tips: use small colored tape to mark the length of your rod at 60-70-80-90-100-110 cm from the bottom) or a measurement tape to measure the length of the fish. From the length you can use a calculation table (see link below) to estimate the weight. When you report the catch, make sure to mark if it was released or kept.
All released fish must be reported to the river owner and the local management in the same manner as fish that is killed.
Info-brochure about catch and release here: gjenutsetting
Info-brochure about catch and release here: gjenutsetting_NL
A guide to correct identification of wild salmon: Villaks-gjenkjenning