Catch & Release
Kyle Fisheries' conservation policy aims for 100% catch and release for Salmon, and a minimum of 80% for Grilse on all our rivers. Given the decline of atlantic salmon, catch and release is an effective way to ensure fish can survive to spawning time. In order for catch and release to be most effective, there are some best practice guidelines that anglers should adhere to in order to reduce the stress fish experience.
- Use appropriate gear. Barbless hooks will cause less injury to fish, and are easer to unhook.
- Play the fish as quickly as possible.
- Use a rubber knotless mesh landing net and keep foreceps for removing the hook close at hand. Or consider non-contact catch and release by unhooking the fish without using a landing net.
- If the hook is deep within the fish's mouth and you can't get it out easily just cut the line. The fish will be able to eject the hook at some point later.
- Minimise air exposure. If you're keen for a photo, try and get one with the fish still in the water. Grip the fish lightly.
- Be mindful of water temperature. When water temperature is above 18 degrees consider stopping fishing until temperature is lower. Warm water holds less oxygen, and a fish played in warm water will be more stressed, and this can decrease survival rates for released fish. During a warm summer the best time to fish will be in the morning before river temperatures have warmed up.
Non-Contact Catch and Release
The following is a short video of non-contact catch and release kindly provided to us by Steven Mackenzie of the Lower Oykel Fishings. If the fish is played quickly, it can be brought into a shallow area with the fishing line. The hook can then be removed from the fishes mouth while it is still in the water without the use of a landing net.
There's a wealth of resorces online and tips for carrying out catch and release. The following are some links to various websites and videos on best practice.
Keep Fish Wet website - Full of tips for catch and release, and the science behind it.
The Fishing Passport - A guide specifically for salmon, as well as links to guides for other species.
Atlantic Salmon Trust - AST and Fishpal produced a series of 10 minute videos called "The Gift", promoting best practice catch and release techniques. Prof. Ken Whelan explains the science underpinning these techniques.
Wild Fish 2021 - Salmon Fishing for Long-Term Sustainability - The Oykel Way. An Excellecnt article from the Oykel's Fishery Manager begins on page 100 which features a section on non-contact catch and release.
Fishing in Wales - General techniques are equally applicable to Scotland, Fishcare and photography guide.
An Angler's Guide to Catch and Release for Salmon - a document produced by Salmon & Trout Conservation endorsed by multiple organisations.