How To Revive Fish
Updated: Oct 29
No matter how hard we try there is always the potential for fish to be injured while fishing. Even when handling best practices are used, hooks are removed quickly, and the fish is returned to the water within seconds there can be complications. If you find yourself in this situation we have a few key tips for reviving fish so they can swim away to be caught another day.
1. Keep them in the water - This should be a no brainer but to recover they need oxygen and they can only get this from the water
2. Keep them cool - Just like you and me the heat stresses fish out and makes them burn energy more quickly. The fish likely came out of deeper cooler water than the surface so when trying to help the fish recover it is best to keep them cool. If you are able to put ice in a livewell to hold them while they recover even better!
3. Keep them upright - when fish are struggling to recover the last thing they need is to expend additional energy trying to maintain their buoyancy. If they are not upright they will struggle to right themselves and burn energy constantly. Holding the fish upright in the livewell or in the water will help them recover more quickly by taking some of the load off of the fish.
4. Don't push them back and forth in the water - contrary to popular belief moving fish forward and then pulling them backward in the water DOES NOT help them to recover. The fish gills are designed to extract oxygen from the water while sitting still or moving in the forward direction only. Pulling the fish backward in the water causes water to be forced against their gills is a way they are not designed to which can cause them to flair out, bend, or become damaged. This added stress on the fish does not help it to recover and does not improve their ability to absorb oxygen. Most fish can force respiration to occur on their own by opening their mouths and so simply holding the fish in the water is the best way to help it recover!
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