Goulburn Valley Fly Fishing Centre
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Goulburn Valley Fly Fishing Centre

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The Fundamentals of Catch and Release Fishing

There are several reasons for practising Catch and Release, the conservation of the fishery one of the most important. Current management techniques on their own are not sufficient to maintain a quality fishery with the ever increasing demands of anglers. That and basic conservation dictate that we release anything not needed for food. But seriously, how many of us have to eat a trout these days?

All the science aside there is a reason that is more important than any other. And that is that fly fishers are engaged in a sport. Sporting activities have a moral and ethical framework thatreleasing a brown maintain and enhance sporting values. In this case these sporting values provide contact with wild creatures. It is this interaction that provides the qualities of experience that we seek. It is this interaction provided by non-sentient creatures that restores our ability to relate to nature that has slowly eroded away as a result of our modern lifestyle.

Whilst trout would not have existed wild and free in our streams without human intervention they are unlike other domesticated species like cats, dogs, cattle or sheep which are truly domesticated. With the situation in Victoria at the present time with the degraded trout fishery it is imperative that we release our fish, particularly the larger ones that will breed.

If performed correctly Catch and Release can be highly effective with a very high success rate. By following the guidelines set out below you will ensure that the fish that give you so much enjoyment swim off none the worse for wear. To be caught again some other time and hopefully to spawn.

1/ Never play a fish out to the point of exhaustion. Use the heaviest tippets the situation will allow and don't go chasing large fish with your three weight!

2/ You should use an appropriate soft mesh net were possible. A net will often halve the amount of time it takes to land a fish and allows you to gently remove the hook while keeping the trout in the water. This is the best way of doing it.

3/ Hands should always be wet before handling fish. Dry hands damage fish.

4/ If the fish is struggling turn it upside down onto its back. This disorients them and they stop moving.

5/ Where possible use a release tool/disgorger. A pair of forceps is also satisfactory.

6/ Never squeeze the fish when handling it, only cradle it loosely in your hands.

7/ If a photo is to be taken then the cameraman should be getting ready as the fisherman is playing the fish. The fish should be lifted from the water briefly for a shot or two after the hook has been removed. If possible get the angler down low to the water and hold the fish just above the water for the photo.

8/ Don't keep the fish out of the water for any length of time. Never put the fish on a gravel bar on a hot summer day (hot rocks) and certainly never on a hot surface in a boat.

9/ Support the fish, head into the current letting the water run through its gills for as long as it takes to recover. You got to enjoy the experience of catching it and you now owe the fish the respect of making sure it is ok.

10/ Remember the whole idea is to release the fish. There is no use releasing it if you are going to cause its death by having it out of the water for any length of time. So be careful!

11/ Please release all fish when visiting our rivers. They are far too valuable to be caught just once.

View the video on releasing fish by clicking here! 7.4 meg will take between 1 - 20 minutes to download depending on connection speed.



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