KEEP'EM WET - FISH NEED H20
Handle them gently, and keep them breathing, we owe it to them.
There have been numerous studies that prove even short term exposure to the air can have grave influences on fish, not just on their mortality, but on their potential to breed as well.
When landing and handling fish this season, and we hope you land a lot of fish, keep a few things in mind.
1: Keep it Quick Land your fish quickly, use gear that matches the fight of your quarry. We all love the fight, but keep in mind that every second that a fish is on our line the change of mortality from the fight rises.
2: A State of Readiness Be ready with your net, your pliers, and your camera when you land a fish. Preparedness is key here. Have your tools easily accessible and check you have them before you head to the river.
3: #keepemwet Fish can't breathe out of water, so lets keep them in there. When handling fish, keep them in or low to the water, preferably with their head submersed. If you have a buddy on the river with you, make sure they are primed and ready with a camera if a photo will be taken. Keep air exposure time to a minimum, use the three second rule. Raise the fish, snap a shot, and return the fish back to the water all within 3 seconds. If you need more time than than, get a better cameraman!
4: They're Sensitive! Keep your hands our of their gills, and eyes, also keep their slime where it belongs. A fish's gills are extremely susceptible to harm, even light contact with your hands, or other object, can gravely damage them. Cradle your fish gently in your hands, and close to the water, support them fully. The vital organs of a fish are just around the pectoral fin. Too much pressured applied in this area can leave them permanently damaged.
Remember, just beucase they swim away, doesn't mean they swim away unharmed.
For more advice on fish handling and the KEEPEMWET campaign, please follow this link WWW.KEEPEMWET.ORG