If you are lucky enough to hook and land a hard fighting Scottish salmon during your salmon fishing holiday in Scotland it is important to know what to do next. As a company we try, and practice catch and release where possible. When returning a salmon it is vital that the fish is put through minimum stress and kept out of the water for as little time as possible if at all.
It is perfectly understandable that anglers want to take a photo of their catch and after fishing hard for a few days who wouldn’t? After all, these are magnificent fish and to have a picture of that special moment when you land the king of fish is one that you will cherish and look back at in years to come with great pride. There are a few steps that you can follow after landing a fish that will cause minimal distress to the fish and also make it more likely that the salmon will swim away unharmed and in good condition.
If you are going to use a net to land the fish, make sure that it is of the knotless variety and the made from material which is kind to the fish. The knotless nets stop the protective slime on the scales of the fish being removed which stops disease. Once the fish is netted keep the net and fish in the water. This will minimise any stress to the fish. The fish will recover much better if it is kept in the water at all times. Once you remove the hook the fish can be lifted from the net with both hands supporting the weight of the fish for a photograph, and the returned back into the net. After the fish has sufficiently recovered the fish should be taken from the net and held upstream until it starts to kick. Once it kicks a few times it is likely that the fish is ready to swim away. On the next strong kick gently release the fish and it should swim away unharmed.
If you are handling the fish make sure that you have wet hands at all time as this reduces the risk of removing the protective slime from the scales of the fish.
Often anglers do not carry a net. If this the case and a salmon is hooked, try and tail the fish in the water towards the end of a fight. Avoid beaching it on grass and sand where possible and at all costs avoid pulling the fish on to gravel or rocks.
If you follow these few simple steps then there is an excellent chance of your Scottish salmon swimming away unharmed and continuing with its onward journey upstream.