If you’re going to be a dear to Mother Nature by releasing your catch, do it properly.
Authorities constantly remind anglers to exercise the proper way of releasing wild fish like the steelhead trout after taking a picture of it. This should be especially practiced if the water is too hot for the trout to dive back in. One pro angler tells Rich Landers of the Spokesman Review that immediately releasing the fish may not be the right thing to do.
“We have witnessed some anglers just throwing fish back into the water without first reviving them and some of these fish later can be seen floating belly-up,” he said, repeating observations anglers have had for years.
According to Katharine Carter, environmental scientist for the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, the ideal temperature for steelhead trout to migrate smoothly is around 62 to 63 degrees. If you’re fishing for steelhead trout in Lake Michigan around this time, keep in mind that the lake’s surface temperature is playing at around 70 degrees F in several areas, according to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.
Fish that have been swimming in warm waters would have been through a lot of stress, and may not survive the added tension of struggling against being caught. To address this, experts advise not to engage in too much catch and release fishing during this time. A seasoned Michigan steelhead fishing charter will guide you to spots that are most ideal for catch-and-keep fishing this season.
Those who engage in catch and release fishing have to remember to revive a caught fish before putting it back on the water. To help ensure the fish’s survival, keep it in the water for as long as possible, perhaps even when taking its picture. Slowly cradle the fish in the water to help it breathe and make sure water currents pass through its gills. The fish will eventually swim out of your hand. If possible, avoid netting the fish, and keep your hands wet while handling it.
Catch and release fishers know that the practice’s success relies a great deal on precision of actions and timing. This means that all the needed tools and equipment must be readily on hand, and that there will be no impediments to the needed quick action.
Working with expert Lake Michigan fishing charters like the Sea Hawk Michigan Fishing Charters will help ensure you have everything you need to make the process go smoothly, from catching the fish, to taking the picture, and eventually, to releasing it back to the water.
(Source: Steelhead anglers reminded to carefully release wild fish, The Spokesman-Review [c/o Billings Gazette], August 23, 2014)