Good Practice Guide
Catching the fish
Use appropriate tackle. Rod and line should be strong enough to bring the fish to net swiftly. The use of barbless single or double hooks is recommended. Barbed hooks can be rendered barbless by pinching with pliers.
Playing the fish
When playing a fish you are going to release try not to play it to exhaustion but land it as quickly as is possible.
Landing the fish
Use a fine knotless meshed landing net. No gaffs or tailers may be used.
Ensure the fish remains in the water at all times.
Do not beach or tail a fish that is to be returned.
All coloured fish should be returned.
Handling the fish
Ensure that hands are wet and hold the fish lightly making sure you do not squeeze it. The less a fish is handled the better the chances of survival.
Removing the hook
Remove the hook gently, using forceps or a hook disgorger.
Should the fish be deep-hooked cut the line as near to the hook as possible.
Recording the fish
Do not weigh the fish, but calculate its length and subsequently use a length/weight conversion chart (see below) to find the weight. Suitable length marks on rod or wading-stick can be helpful.
Photographs of the fish should only be taken while the fish is in the water. Please do not photograph your catch laying on grass, rocks or being held out of the water.
Reviving and releasing fish
Support the fish with both hands in a gentle current and facing upstream.
Allow time for the fish to regain its strength and be able to swim away on its own.
To guard against disease that can damage our fish stocks fishermen are directed to the Environment Agency's website for "Guidance on Disinfecting Fishing Tackle".
Important contact numbers for reporting any serious environmental incident such as illegal fishing, pollution, poaching, or fish in distress is the Environmental Agency Incident Hotline 0800 807060 for the river and the IFCA Incident Hotline 07740 175479 for the estuary.
Salmon weight/length conversion chart