Caring for your Catch 

Keeping your Catch

If you are keeping your fish, proper handling begins as soon as it is caught. The preferred method is to kill and clean your fish in the field immediately, and then pack it in ice. This will keep the fish fresh until eating time.

Fish should not touch one another or be stored in melted ice water. Never carry or store a fish in plastic bags. It is illegal under State of Alaska regula¬tions to keep caught fish alive on a stringer.

Catch and Release

By following these steps properly releasing your fish, you can significantly improve the odds of your fish surviving. This can help improve the fishery for everyone.

  • Clip barbs off hooks on lures and flies; never use bait or stainless steel hooks. Bring in your catch quickly so it is not exhausted.
  • Never let the fish flop in shallow water, over rocks or on dry land. Keep fish in water, cradling it gently under its belly and tail with your wet hands. Never touch the gills or squeeze the fish.
  • Remove the hook quickly and gently with long-nosed pliers or a hemostat, keeping the fish underwater. If the fish is deeply hooked, cut the line off at the hook.
  • Point the fish into a slow current or gently move the fish back and forth until the gills work properly. Release the fish when it attempts to swim away. 

Under State of Alaska regulations, it is illegal to remove a king salmon from the water for photographic or other purposes if you intend to release the fish. Refer to specific king salmon handling requirements for Alaska rivers you intend to fish.

Angler holding arctic grayling in the water
Holding arctic grayling in the water for catch and release. Photo by Matthew Vos