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Lucky, the Catch and Release Superstar: Part Three
April 15, 2014

We did not make it back to Lucky before the river froze over, but I have already visited that area twice this year in search of Lucky, and I know I will have to bring my A game if I want to see him up close again. 

One way to ensure the survival of each fish is proper catch and release techniques. If done properly, mortality rate can be less than one percent, but success not only requires putting the fish back in the water at the end but also proper treatment during the landing and handling of the fish. 

I recommend a rubber net in order to not compromise the valuable slime layer that keep fish healthy. We fish Brodin and Gold Metal Nets, both of which possess high quality and long lasting craftsmanship. In addition, getting the fish into your net as quickly as your tippet will allow will prevent the fish from wearing itself out completely in the fight and leave it with some strength when it is returned to the water. Keeping the fish out of water for too long, letting multiple people hold the fish, or putting it on land to get a picture with your rod will severely limit the survival rate of your catch and release fishing. And of course, barbless hooks will greatly reduce the damage caused to the fish and allow you to release fish almost without touching them at all. 

Through our catch and release practices, we had a fish that was getting smarter every day, and I’m fairly certain he is not getting any smaller either.  Smart fish make smart fisherman. Thanks, Lucky. 

Below is a great video with some additional information on catch and release practices. 

Posted by Zach Kinler

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Lucky, the Catch and Release Superstar: Part Two
April 3, 2014

Needless to say, I was stoked after that first day and returned with my buddy CJ the next day to find what looked like the same fish in the spot I first hooked it. CJ stepped up and within a few minutes hooked the fish. I thought the fish had put up a pretty spirited fight the two times I hooked it but when it felt CJ’s fly, it did what any smart fish that has been hooked does and headed for the current and around a big rock as we said goodbye to that rig. The fish was evolving right in front of our eyes. 

The next day, I had a client on the Taylor, and I decided we would end our day attempting to get CJ’s flies back. By now, the fish had acquired the name “Lucky” and sure enough Lucky was back in the same area. It took a little more time this round but eventually Martin got a drift Lucky liked, and he was on the line again. After only a day, Lucky had gotten even smarter and was only on the line for a few seconds before he headed downstream at a blistering pace. No match for 5X. 

 I had to go back the next day if for nothing else than to try to get all those flies out of the fish. So the parade of fisherman continued as I returned the next day with my girlfriend and sure enough we spotted Lucky right away. It took a bit more work than the previous days but after fishing the run for a bit, Elsa got him on the line. I’ll give her credit—she did well putting the fly where it needed to be and hooking the fish but in the battle, Lucky spit the fly and got away. I was happy that we did not leave another couple flies hanging from Lucky’s mouth but Elsa was disappointed not to have a 20” rainbow in her hand. I told her there would be another day. Over the course of those few days, I witnessed Lucky becoming not only more selective to flies and drift but also learning what to do after getting hooked….
Posted by Zach Kinler
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