@Streamside: Watercolor Paintings of Trout and Salmon by Stuart Helmintoller

Movers and Shakers
Have you ever heard a fellow fisherperson exclaim “another shaker!” when they pull in an undersize fish? I have. Shaking the fish from the hook to release it is a poor way to treat a future trophy or meal. We should respect every fish we land, and treat it with care, no matter what size or species.

By now we’re all aware of the increasingly popular catch-and-release ethic. It’s practically ubiquitous among flyliners, and increasing among lure and bait users. The reasons are many, including the fact that our fishery resources are decreasing, fishing pressure is increasing, and it’s now required by law on many waters. Maybe we want to be able to return next year and try to catch the same fish (only bigger!). Maybe the bite is on and we want to fish for 5 hours, not one. Maybe we only need one keeper for dinner — or none. In any case, it’s a cool concept, and one that my wife and I have found to be fun and gratifying.

There was a time when every fisherman worth his salt had a couple huge mounted trophy fish hanging over his fireplace. Today, you can take a picture of your catch, release the fish unharmed, send in your measurements, and get a colorful glossy fiberglass fish to hang on your wall. Or even better, send the picture to an artist who will create a custom portrait of the actual fish you caught, complete with its unique coloration and spotting pattern. Trout are like snowflakes — no two are exactly alike.

Don’t be a shaker — be a mover! Move your mouse over to the right column on this page and click the links to learn more about proper techniques for catch-and-release, and how it can help ensure the future of our valuable fishery resources.

— Stuart Helmintoller, Artist

Text and images ©2004 by Stuart Mason Helmintoller, @Streamside.

California Trout: Catch-and-Release Fishing. By following a few simple rules you can be certain that released fish will live to be caught again.

Florida Marine Research Institute Guidelines for Catch-and-Release Fishing. The most important contributions an angler can make to a successful release are to hook and land the fish as quickly as possible, leave the fish in the water while dehooking, and quickly release the fish.

Catch-and-Release Fishing: Introduction (GORP) Practice catch-and-release fishing if you want to see healthy fisheries in the future, producing fertile, strong fish populations for generations of anglers to come.

State of Alaska: ADF&G Catch-and-Release Guidelines. Using catch and release techniques to land your fish when practicing selective harvest assures you that the fish will be in the best possible physical condition when you make the decision to harvest it for food or to release it.

Catch-and-Release: Fishing for the Future! (Idaho Department of Fish and Game). "Limiting our kill" rather than "killing our limit" will ensure that future generations will continue to have the opportunity to experience top quality angling along northern Idaho's lakes, rivers, and streams.

Alaska Science Center Biological Science Office Fisheries Project: Alagnak River Rainbow Trout. Evaluating the effects of catch-and-release fishing on the hooking injury and immediate physiological response of Alagnak River rainbow trout captured by catch-and-release angling.

United States Catch and Release Club Directory (Open Directory Project). An extensive listing of online organizations that support catch-and-release fishing.

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