Your Guide to Live-Release Fishing
Release the Future
Live-Release Fishing Facts

Fisheries management professionals encourage live-release fishing because it works. Scientific studies of fresh and salt water species have conclusively shown that up to 95% of fish survive when released.

Only a small percentage of fish reach spawning age. These "brood" fish are survivors and pass on healthy physical traits and important survival instincts to their young. It is important to protect these larger fish.

Fisheries managers prefer to promote voluntary live-release as an effective management tool that increases fishing opportunities and benefits fish populations.

Conservation-minded anglers have been releasing fish for over 100 years.

Your decision to keep or release can have an important effect on future fish populations.

What to Keep - What to Release

KEEP the smaller fish of the species for the table. They are easier to clean and often tastier than bigger fish.

KEEP fish that have been damaged by hooking or appear unlikely to survive.

KEEP panfish or less popular fish. They are great eating, fun to catch on light tackle and are generally more abundant.

RELEASE spawning age fish. These are the larger fish of each species.

RELEASE trophy fish ... and still have your trophy. Take measurements and photos of your prize and bring them to your taxidermist. He will arrange to create a "replica" mount which will look exactly like your fish but last much longer than the traditional "skin" mount.

RELEASE all fish you do not intend to use. Remember it is against the law to waste any fish caught in Canadian waters.

RELEASE all fish under the legal size limit or over your legal possession limit.

How to Handle & Release Fish

Bring fish in quickly. Fish can become exhausted if they are on the line too long.

Unhook the fish while still in the water, wherever possible.

Use barbless hooks for easy removal. (Just pinch down the barb with a pair of pliers.)

Wet your hands before handling fish to minimize damage to their protective "slime" cover.

Do not squeeze a fish. Use needle-nose pliers for quick removal of the hook.

To prevent spinal injury to large fish, never lift them ONLY by the tail. If it is necessary to remove a large fish from the water, support them by placing one hand at the base of the tail and the other hand gently under the belly.

Never place your fingers in the gills of a fish you intend to release.

Never keep fish on a stringer if you intend to release them.