Posts Tagged ‘catch-and-release’

Sustainable Fishing

Healthy Water, Healthy Fish, Careful Release...Sustainable

What does sustainable fishing mean to me?

My goal as an angler and a guide is to interact with the fish and the habitat that supports them in a manner that does not adversely impact either one.  Some impacts are inevitable, but as long as they are minor in nature, understood, and within levels that the fishery and environment can recover from, they can be reasonable.

What fishing practices do I engage in that help fisheries?

I’m not certain whether I chose to be a fishing guide or that guiding chose me, but after several years, I transitioned from an all styles guide to a fly fishing only focus.  While arguable, though born out from my personal experiences, fly fishers tend to be more concerned about the environment they fish within and the fish themselves.  As a guide, I noticed that my impacts on the fishery in the Kenai River were considerably less on fly fishing trips then on trips with a salmon harvest focus and any means (gear/bait) tactics.  I strongly believe in catch and release for resident wild fish and selective harvest of salmon from sustainable fisheries only.  Some years, run strengths my dictate self imposed restrictions beyond allowable limits.  Choosing not to take the largest fish for food from within a population is also a personal choice that can be beneficial to the fishery.

As a guide, I view educating anglers as a huge component to the fishing trip experience. Guiding should go beyond catching and learning to catch fish. Helping our clients to understand the ecosystem, our impacts while fishing and outside threats and concerns to the fishery and habitat are paramount to sustaining our future on the water.

Other thoughts on this subject

Most of us have homewater or possibly several locations where we spend the majority of our time fishing.  Take some ownership.  Learn it.  Find out about the history of your water and how it is today vs. the past.  Is it getting better or worse?  Can you help?  Join a local fishing club or start one with a focus on issues facing your homewater.  Join a national organization that focuses attention on your homewater.  Help, protect, defend and sustain it!

As anglers, it is imperative that we each develop our own code of ethics with a focus on Green Fishing practices.  It is imperative that we take responsibility for sustaining the habitats and the health of the fish we pursue.  It is imperative that we help educate new anglers and show them wonders that fishing can provide.  Sustainable fishing needs sustainable anglers.

Support businesses that support fish.


GreenFish has three primary goals:

1) Improve our fisheries and marine environments

2) Promote responsible and sustainable fishing techniques such as catch & release

3) Promote and protect the sport of recreational fishing for future generations to enjoy

“This blog entry is my submission for the GreenFish and Outdoor Blogger Network Writing Prompt Giveaway”

Fishing and conservation are dependent on one another.  GreenFish offers a fine outline to follow and I’d happily sport any of their apparel.  Good luck and fish on!



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Nothing gets fly fisherman more worked up than comments about catch-and-release. Whether from pure selfishness or true concern for a life form we cherish, everyone has a strong opinion. I am just recounting two situations that happened on the Kenai River. One was difficult for the trout through no fault of the anglers involved, other than that we were trying to catch it. The other was hard on my face and I am sure some form of karmic payback for all my years of fishing.


A hook-up near the end of a float on the Kenai last summer resulted in a brief and surprising battle. The fish shot straight toward his would-be captor, crashing into his chest on the third leap, before flopping into the middle of the drift boat. My guest was stunned. I quickly scooped the twisting trout and freed it over the side. I was concerned about its physical condition after slapping the angler and banging the bottom of my boat. Undaunted, the untamed rainbow sliced across the water pushing a v-wake like a torpedo. The wave splashed up with a bang on the side of my partners nearby drift boat, startling the occupants.

It was a brief encounter with a mad trout of approximately twenty-eight inches. While we got no glory photo of the fish, it surely burned its image on our memories. How many trout fisherman can claim to be gored by a rainbow? How many drift boats do crazed trout ram? That fish had serious troutitude.

Catching trophy trout is a big deal for most fly anglers and everyone wants to get a special photo with their biggest fish. As a guide, I typically do the holding for these photos. Big fish can be a bit of a challenge to pose and we never want to hurt them. I would like to think I have developed a special touch over the years to quickly and safely position a fish for the camera.

After a successful photo pose, I was leaning over the water to carefully release a particular fish. Mindful of his well being, I intended to hold the trout momentarily submerged to be sure he was ready to swim. Before reaching the water, he snapped his head back and bit my lip. While we generally do not worry too much about them, trout have teeth. This fish surely felt vindicated as he zoomed off and blood from my wounded lip dribbled down my chin. How was the bite that day? Well, I was bit in the lip. Some trout are not to be trifled with.

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