Angling for sport has become increasingly popular especially in Manitoba, as the number of angling licenses sold each year continues to climb. It’s an obvious sign, sport fishing has gone mainstream. Bait and tackle shops continue popping up along with large retail outlets offering every gadget imaginable from state of the art electronics to likely some of the best gear the industry has ever seen. Great gear, an abundance of available knowledge and social groups pave the road to its rapidly growing popularity. It’s an outdoor activity the whole Family can take part in together creating closer bonds and memories that will last a lifetime. Compared to many other out-door activities I would consider sport fishing very diverse offering anglers a variety of species to choose from throughout the various seasons .

Pursuing larger species is something I have always been a big fan of but those fish weren’t born big fish. Over the years they have been caught, have evaded close encounters living amongst predators and have gone through numerous spawning seasons. Only the healthy and strong will survive to maturity reaching trophy size. I believe as sport anglers it is our obligation to impose the least impact as possible on any fishery. Following regulations, slot limits etc set out by conservation will help maintain a healthy population ensuring Canada’s fishery continues to flourish. leaving behind an important part of history for the next generation to enjoy.

I’m sure, like myself many of you have Experienced the excitement of holding that trophy fish up in front of the camera, smiling ear to ear. A feeling every angler should get to experience at least once. Exercising C.P.R Will help ensure that all anglers do. I bet you’re all I’m putting my lips on that fishes mouth. Don’t worry I’m not talking about that kind of C.P.R!
I’m talking about CATCH, PICTURE, RELEASE

Proper preparation is the most common factor in a healthy release. For example when I head out in the boat or offshore I always like to have my net at the ready, my camera beside me, a fish towel and pliers. After the fish has been successfully netted try removing the hook while the fish remains captive in the water Rather than allowing it to flop around inside the boat potentially injuring itself. Many times fish that have been released and swim away do not survive due to internal injury’s or shock. When holding larger fish or removing them from the net for a picture or release it is very important to properly support them. Placing one hand underneath the belly while the other hand grips the tail is a great way to handle larger fish. Vertical holds are extremely damaging to big fish. Imagine being held by your head while your body is kicking back and forth. The amount of tension that is put on the vertebrae‘s will more than likely be lethal Even though that fish swims away. Ripped gills and internal organ damage are also risk factors acquired by vertical holds. Their bodies are not built to be held that way under such pressure.

Many factors play an important role in a successful release. Temperature is another major factor. For example if you’re ice-fishing And the temperatures are significantly cold and windy that day consider taking your photographs and measurements inside your tent or in a controlled environment of some sort. It takes less than 20 seconds for the eyes to freeze to a point where it could cause permanent damage. We all want to get our picture taken but a healthy release should always be number one priority. It takes a bit of extra time but one thing I like to do when I’m ice fishing is drill an extra hole that doesn’t quite go through. I then punch a hole in the bottom With a bar and clean out the shavings. Creating my own live-well it’s nice to be prepared. When taking measurements I prefer to use a bump-board a measuring device that allows the fish to lay flat while getting an accurate measurement. There are numerous devices available for purchase or you can make your own. It’s the safest most accurate way to retain a valid measurement. Never hang a larger fish vertically, if you must weigh the fish use a support cradle to hang from the scale and place the Fish inside. These are some techniques I myself prefer to use when handling fish.

Here in Manitoba we have a program called the Manitoba master angler program. It’s the only one of its kind it’s a great program offering anglers a chance to keep track of their trophy size catches. The program offers awards as well as a list of every Manitoba master angler that’s been submitted into the program, when it was caught and where. Designed by Travel Manitoba it also promotes healthy fish handling, catch and release while awarding anglers with certificates and badges for their trophy catches.

HuntFishMB, a brand designed and administered under Travel Manitoba also holds monthly contests featuring a different species every month throughout the year. Catching a trophy size fish in that months specified species and submitting it exercising the qualified requirements set out by Manitoba master angler could net you 1000 Cabela’s gift card. The program and contests offered are available to anybody who catches a qualifying Manitoba master angler fish well abiding by all regulations in Manitoba, resident or nonresident. If you haven’t had a look at this program I suggest you check it out. It’s a great resource tool for anglers who are sport fishing in Manitoba or planning on making the trip here to experience Manitoba’s awesome fishery.

Stay tuned to the Canadian Fishing Network and Chris’s Corner as I showcase a different species every month on CFN and show you just what makes fishing in Manitoba a trip you cannot pass up. You can also subscribe to HuntFishMB’s blog if you haven’t already for additional information on the hottest bite in Manitoba right now! You’ll find a bunch of local anglers including myself talking about what’s happening and what’s not in Manitoba.

So remember practice healthy catch and release, (C.P.R) and put those big girls back. We cannot control what everybody does but we can control what we do as individuals. So rather than criticize let’s educate, the power of knowledge and teamwork is the future of our fishery.
Any questions or requests as far as particular species you’d like to see, the when, where and why about fishing in Manitoba, gear.
The only stupid questions are the ones we don’t ask. Feel free to drop me a line I love talking fishing!

Facebook-Chris Chorney
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