Voluntary Catch and Release

Getting Hooked on Voluntary Catch and Release

Catching and Releasing a Fish

MN DNR web photo see link below

When fishing for happiness catch and release.”   Edelman

Voluntary catch and release fishing takes the pressure off of the lake and places the emphasis on fun. The object of voluntary catch and release fishing is to return fish back into the lake where they can reproduce and potentially be caught again.

Catch and release regulations used by fish managers, like the DNR, help enhance  population by returning older, larger fish back into the lake where they are able to reproduce. Under the penalty of the law these regulations require that some species or sizes of fish be returned to the water where they were caught. In contrast, voluntary catch and release fishing is a way to make good fishing last longer while still having the occasional pleasure of dinning on freshly caught fish.

To be successful catch and release fishing requires well thought out tackle, an understanding of the fishery and good judgment as to when a fish can be returned to the lake or is headed for the frying pan. Proper handling assures fish will survive after being released. When fishing for catch and release, proper landing and handling is important for survival. Don’t play a walleye to exhaustion, don’t hold it by the gills or eyes and cut the line if the fish is deeply hooked. Fish that are unable to recover should be harvested.


Voluntary catch and release is an evolving sport. Check the web at http://www.minnesotawaters.org/group/blackwater/blackwater-lake-association-board to find links to studies, more information and to contribute your insights to this growing sport.






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