Will fish I catch and release die anyway?
If fishes caught with artificial lures such as flies are handled carefully, most will survive. Apparently, many factors influence survival after release. If the fish was already stressed before being caught, for instance because of spawning or high water temperatures, it is less likely to survive. If the fish is "played" for a long time and is exhausted before release, it is probably less likely to survive. If the fish is hooked through a sensitive area such as the gills or the eye, or is hooked deeply in the throat (which seems more likely when using bait), it is less likely to survive. If the fish is handled roughly, for example squeezed strongly or held out of water too long, it is also less likely to survive. If a fish seems to be having difficulty after unhooking, cradle it gently in the water until it regains its equilibrium and swims off under its own power.