How to Catch and Release Alaska Salmon

How to Catch and Release Alaska Salmon

If you’re heading out to catch some Alaska Salmon, you may not want to keep all of the salmon you reel in. You also may not be allowed to. Southeast Alaska fishing regulations dictate where you can catch salmon and how many you can take home. These regulations are put in place for a purpose—to protect our natural wildlife and prevent the depopulation of Alaska Salmon.

However, that doesn’t mean you can only catch two salmon and then go home. The catch and release method allows people to enjoy the sport of fishing while also protecting Alaska’s wildlife. Here’s how to get started:

Get the right tackle

First thing’s first—if you want to catch and release, then you need the right tools to do so. Namely, the right tackle. We recommend using small (no bigger than a size 8), barbless hooks, either singles or doubles. These cause less harm to the fish, and unhooking is quicker.

Play fish for a short amount of time

Playing fish can be an exhilarating experience. However, don’t get too caught up in the moment. Playing a fish for too long will exhaust it, so keep things short and land the fish as soon as possible.

Landing a fish

Speaking of landing, it’s important to do so carefully and safely. Use a soft, knotless net with a small mesh size, and prevent dragging the fish across the bank or over gravel. You should also avoid taking the fish out of the water. However, this isn’t always possible, especially if you’re on a boat. In these situations, prepare a flat, wet space to place the fish (ideally a soaking towel or an unhooking mat) and lay them out on their side.

Pro Tip: If you want to take a picture of your fish, do so quickly by holding them under their belly and the wrist of their tail.

Unhooking the fish

Once you have the fish in your hands, it’s time to remove the hook. Unhooking is one of the most dangerous parts, as this is where the fish could get seriously injured. First, hold the fish down by their tail. Then, remove the hook quickly but carefully using forceps before releasing the fish back into the water (ideally steady, calm waters). If the fish is deep-hooked, don’t bother removing the hook (this will only injure the fish more). Instead, snip the line as close to the hook as possible and release the fish back into the water. Click here for a video demonstration.

For more tips on catching and releasing Alaska Salmon, contact Green Rocks Lodge today!