The concept of "catch and release" is more than just a fishing technique—it's a pledge to protect the delicate balance of our aquatic ecosystems. The Texas Parks and Wildlife mandates that some fish species be released back into the water based on size, number caught, and seasons. However, in some cases, anglers will voluntarily release fish as a conservation strategy to protect fish populations and allow reproduction.

Whether mandated by conservation laws or driven by a commitment to preserving our aquatic treasures, best catch and release practices must be used when handling fish to prevent harm.

  • Use gear suited to the size and species you are trying to catch.  
  • Wet hands prior to touching fish.  
  • Prevent bodily harm to slippery fish by handling them with lipping tool.  
  • Hold fish horizontally and support abdomen when lifting.  
  • Remove hooks with pliers to minimize the chance of damaging the jaws.  
  • Gently pull fish in a figure eight pattern prior to release.   
  • Return the fish to water quickly.  


Other ways to practice sustainable fishing:

  • Follow all Texas Parks and Wildlife regulations.  
  • Follow proper fishing etiquette from encounters with fish to encounters with fellow anglers. 
  • Use local bait to prevent contamination. 
  • Recycle fishing line if stations are available. Avoid simply tossing your fishing line in the water. This can harm wildlife living in or around fishing areas, often leading to death.  
  • Dispose of all your trash properly and clean up the area before you leave.

Visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife website for more information on fishing regulations, and learn more about what the ReleaSense initiative is doing to advance the traditional role of anglers as leaders in fisheries conservation.

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