Catch and Release

Learn to use proper techniques in  releasing trout you catch.

see 2016 Montana Fishing Regulations – catch and release only for Bull Trout in Swan Lake! Experimental and limited (1 fish tag needed, seasons, etc.) fishery for Bull Trout in Hungry Horse/ SFk Flathead and Lake Koocanusa.  Besides this, intentional angling for Bull Trout in MT is illegal. Many anglers enjoy releasing many of the fish they catch. In the case of bull trout it is a requirement that you release any that you catch.

It is very important that you follow the correct steps in proper handling and release of fish. Study the proper steps below.

How to Catch-and-Release

  • Avoid the use of bait. Artificial lures and flies cause far less
    mortality to released fish.
  • Use barbless hooks that make the hook-removal fast and easy.
  • Play the fish as rapidly as possible...not to its total exhaustion.
  • Wet your hands before touching the fish.
  • Keep the fish in water as much as possible when handling and
    removing the hook.
  • Remove the hook gently. Don’t squeeze the fish or put fingers
    in its gills.
  • If deeply hooked, cut the line as close to the mouth as possible.
    Do not yank the hook out. Many fish survive with hooks left in
  • Release the fish only after its equilibrium is maintained. If
    necessary, gently hold the fish upright facing upstream and move
    it slowly back and forth.
  • Release the fish in quiet water close to the area where it was