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As you know, we here at Schmidt Outfitters are catch and release anglers.
- Play and release fish as rapidly as possible. A fish played for too long may not recover.
- Keep the fish in the water as much as possible. A fish out of water is suffocating. Internal injuries and scale loss is much more likely to occur when the fish is out of water.
- Rolling fish onto their backs (while still in the water) may reduce the amount they struggle.
- Carry hemostats. Grab the bend or round portion of the hook with your hemostats, twist hemostats upside down, and the hook will pop out. Be quick, but gentle. Single barbless hooks are recommended. You can also pinch down the barb for easy removal.
- If a net is used for landing your catch, it should have fine mesh and a knotless webbing to protect the fish from abrasion and possible injury.
- If you must handle the fish, do so with your bare, wet hands (not with gloves). Keep your fingers out of the gills, and don't squeeze the fish or cause scales to be lost or damaged. It is best to leave fish in the water for photos. If you must lift a fish then provide support by cradling one hand behind the front fins and your other hand just forward of the tail fin. Minimize the time out of the water and then hold the fish in the water to recover. When in the river, point the fish upstream while reviving it. When the fish begins to struggle and swim normally, let it go.
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