Learning how to properly release a salmon is vital in the recovery of wild fish populations.

Anglers’ guide to releasing salmon properly

By learning to correctly release salmon, anglers can do their part toward the recovery of Washington’s wild fish populations

Here are important tips on how to properly release salmon:

  • Minimize handling by leaving fish in the water.
  • Be quick when handling a fish. This helps reduce stress and exhaustion on fish. Keep in mind a tired fish takes longer to recover!
  • Try to avoid using a landing net — but if you must, use a soft, knotless net or a rubber mesh net. Knotless nets are required in fly-fishing-only areas and freshwater areas with selective gear rules.
  • Use a hook remover (dehooker) when hooks are embedded in the mouth or jaw. Alternative hook removers are needle nosed pliers or hemostats. You can also make your own dehooker by buying a wooden dowel (measuring 22 inches long, which is the minimum size in most Chinook fisheries and can be used to determine the length of a fish) and a small opened-ended brass plated screw-in cup hook.
  • If a fish has swallowed the hook, cut the leader as close to the hook as possible.

Handling your catch:



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The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is dedicated to preserving, protecting and perpetuating the state’s fish and wildlife resources.