Best Practices for Catch and Release of Atlantic Salmon

Practice safe and responsible release techniques to help ensure salmon survival.

Follow these procedures to minimize injury to the fish.

  • The use of barbless hooks is mandatory when angling for salmon in Newfoundland and Labrador. The use of barbless hooks helps minimize injury to the fish.
  • Once the fish is hooked, gradually move to a quiet water location. Leave the fish in the water; remove the hook gently, with pliers or with your thumb and forefinger.
  • Handle the fish as little as possible.
  • A leader should be heavy enough to bring in a large salmon quickly or light enough to allow a large salmon to break off.
  • Bring the fish quickly into reach, or break the leader off after a couple of runs.
  • Keep the entire salmon underwater as much _as possible.
  • When using a landing net, use a knotless cotton mesh as it is less harmful to fish scales, gills and eyes.
  • Handle the salmon gently.
  • If required, support the fish under the belly, keeping the fish horizontal, underwater and facing into the current.
  • Remove the hook gently with pliers or with your thumb and forefinger. If the hook must be left in, cut the leader as close to the fish as possible.
  • Be patient. Give the fish as much time as it needs to recover and swim away on its own.
  • Do not use a tailer as it can cause damage to the salmon.
  • Do not beach the salmon as it can remove the mucous coating and damage scales. Keep the entire salmon underwater.
  • Do not hold the salmon vertically as this can injure the salmon.
  • Anglers should cease catch and release angling in extreme environmental conditions: low water levels and high water temperatures.

DFO/2012-1819
Cat. No.:Fs114-25/2012E
ISBN: 978-1-100-20452-9

Best Practices for Catch and Release of Salmon [PDF 6.77 MB]