The good news about Virginia Hutchins’ article (“F&G study finds anglers hold fish out of water less than 30 seconds on average,” May 1) is it shows a majority of anglers are aware that keeping fish out of water for very long can be extremely harmful. The bad news is it suggests that it’s OK to keep fish out of water as long as it’s less than a minute. It also didn’t pay enough attention to the growing commitment among catch-and-release anglers to land and release a fish without removing it from the water. The recent trend among anglers is the science that indicates that even 30 seconds, and less in one study, may result in unnecessarily high levels of stress that a fish would not otherwise experience if kept in the water. There’s an old saying that “a good game fish is too valuable to be caught only once.” We anglers should dedicate ourselves to that idea by rethinking the traditional grip-and-grin photo and handle a landed fish in the water as much as possible. Fish and Game can support this intention while helping to sustain fish populations, by more publicly encouraging or even requiring anglers to #keepemwet.
John (JD) Miller, Boise