Originally published by Cottage Country Lifestyle Magazine, July 11, 2022

Every angler should make their best effort to be a good conservationist. Knowing which fish to harvest for food, and which to release, helps us make wise use of a renewable resource. Here are a few simple tips!

What Fish to Keep

• Small-to-medium sized fish. Smaller fish are more numerous and often better tasting.

• Fish which are injured or unlikely to survive if released.

What Fish to Release

• Large spawning-age fish. These fish are the survivors! Only a small percentage of fish live to reach spawning age, and their genetics are important to protect future generations.

• Trophy fish. But don’t worry! You can still have your trophy. Measure the length and girth of the fish and take a few photos. Your taxidermist can use these to make an identical replica of 

your catch which will last longer and look better than the original!

• Fish you don’t intend to use.

• Any fish which are under the legal size limit.

When you plan on releasing fish, there are a few things you can do to give them the best chance at surviving:

• Make sure you bring fish in quickly so they don’t become too exhausted.

• Don’t release fish in a strong current.

• Try to unhook fish when they’re still in the water – the less time they’re out of water, the better!

• Try pinching down barbs on hooks with pliers.

• Remember to wet your hands before handling fish to minimize damage to their protective slime coat.

• Don’t place your fingers in the gills of a fish, lift a fish by its tail, or squeeze a fish.

• Don’t keep fish on a stringer.

By putting something back, Canadians can protect the true spirit of fishing for generations to come.

To read the complete article about Marine Protected Areas on the west coast, visit https://www.cottage.rocks/catch-release-being-part-of-the-natural-cycle/ 

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Keep Canada Fishing is the national voice of Canada’s anglers, and we lead the effort to preserve your right to sustainably fish on our lakes, oceans, rivers and streams. By informing anglers of current and potential issues and threats affecting recreational fishing and access to public waters, our goal is to motivate anglers to take action on matters of importance to the future of fishing and conservation. We’re also your voice on Parliament Hill. If you would like to contribute to our efforts to “Keep Canada Fishing,” you can donate now via PayPal.