Nebraska Pond Management - Second Edition

Access digital copies of guides and regulations publications from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Issue link: http://digital.outdoornebraska.gov/i/605475

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Page 91 of 95

90 • Nebraska Game and Parks Commission � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � K nowing how to grasp and unhook fish properly means anglers can release them unharmed. They can survive to grow, spawn, and be caught again. Even when only measuring a fish, you must handle it gently and release it quickly. Handling fish correctly also eliminates injuries to the angler caused by teeth and spines. How to Catch & Release Landing the Fish Avoid playing the fish to total exhaustion. The longer you play it, the more stress it experiences and the less chance it has to survive. Rubber Nets If you use a net, choose one with rubber mesh. Soft rubber is less harmful to a fish than cord. Using a net properly can make handling a large fish quicker and easier than doing it by hand. Barbless Hooks Keep the fish in the water as much as possible. Barbless hooks reduce the time needed to handle a fish and make it simpler to remove the hook, often by merely backing it from the fish's mouth without lifting the fish from the water. Wet Hands If you must handle the fish, wet your hands before touching it. Dry hands will remove a fish's protective surface mucus, which guards it against bacterial and fungal infections. Using a wet glove can help control lively, slippery fish. Careful Touch Handle the fish carefully. Don't squeeze the gills or body cavity, and don't put your fingers into its gill flaps or eye sockets. Try to keep it horizontal. A firm grip behind the head and around the tail is the least harmful. Don't let it flop around on the bank or bottom of the boat. Helpful Tools Remove the hook carefully with a hemostat or other hook removal device. If the fish is deeply hooked, cut the line as close to the hook as possible and release the fish. The fish's digestive juices will dissolve the hook in time. Pulling or jerking on a hook will damage a fish's esophagus, stomach, or gills. Act Quickly Once the hook is removed, quickly and gently return the fish to the water. Don't just toss it back into the pond. If the fish hasn't regained its equilibrium, cradle it upright in your hand in the water until it can swim away. Don't move it back and forth in the water "to revive it" because gills are fragile and can be damaged by water being forced through them the wrong way. Definite NO Never place fish that will later be released in a live-well, in a fish basket, or on a stringer. It is better to release them immediately. CATCH & RELEASE FISHING Barbless hooks make it easier to release a fish, and it is simple to convert artificials and other hooks. Just use a pair of pliers to flatten the barbs. Making Hooks Barbless Making Hooks Barbless

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