Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Keep'em Wet

Keepemwet started by Bryan Huskey 5 years ago when he was asked by a local fly club to give a presentation about his trout photography. He outlined anglers' responsibility to be good stewards of the resource and to handle catch & release fish with exceptional care, especially when additional time is taken to photograph fish. He called this portion of his presentation "Keep 'em Wet" that has transended into the hashtag #keepemwet. 

This winter, Native Fish Society  launched the “Keep ‘Em Wet” campaign to increase angler awareness about the negative effects of air exposure to wild fish.

"Don’t take us wrong,  I'm not saying we are purest, we’ve all taken fish out of the water to snap a photo, Native Fish Society staff members included.  But the more we learn about  handling fish we love the more healthy wild fish there will be to catch. 

As an outfitters Marty and I have have practised catch and release techniques from early on, teaching sports how to properly handle fish and how to minimize air exposure when taking photos.   

Even when anglers are taking precautionary measures, like crushing the barb, prolonged air exposure can make it difficult for fish to recover and there are delayed negative effects that may not be apparent even if the fish seems fine when it swims away.

Studies have shown that the longer a fish is exposed to air after exhausting exercise the higher their mortality rates are (Ferguson and Tufts, 1992; Gale et al, 2011).  Even 30 seconds of air exposure reduces a trout’s ability to recover and can provide a significant additional stress even when catch and release fishing (Ferguson and Tufts, 1992).

So, let’s get creative with the way we photograph our wild fish by keeping them wet and in the water.  Here's a few recommendations.  Till May 31st 2015, NFS will be holding a photo contest for the best picture of a wild, native fish from the Pacific Northwest with at minimum its gills in the water."

1. Keep the mouth, gill plates in the water cradling the backside of the fish or hand right under the pectoral fin, not squeezing the fish and  hold the tail with the other hand firmly. 
Wild 2013 photo by Marty Sheppard

2. Hold the tail firmly and lay the fish flat covering the gill plate. 
Winter Buck 2011 by Mia Sheppard

3. If you do feel inclined to take a photo of the fish out the water, quickly lift  for a second or two and then submerge the fish back. If you see there is no water dripping off the fish or its mouth is wide open gasping for air, it's been out of the water way to long. 

How to Enter the Photo Contest

To enter, email your photograph to mark@nativefishsociety.org and we will post it to our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts with the hashtag #keepemwet. The top three photos with the most likes combined will win prizes!

Prizes for the Top Three Finalists
The first place winner will receive a brand new Gary Anderson Custom 12’0” 7wt Spey Rod donated by NFS Board Treasurer Peter Tronquet.  Our two runners up will get to choose between a day of steelhead fishing with Washougal River Steward Steve Lent on the Sandy River and a day of trout fishing with Willamette Valley Regional Coordinator Kyle Smith on the McKenzie River.

The three winning photographs will be published in the Summer 2015 issue of Strong Runs. Let the contest begin, good luck, and Keep Em’ Wet!
- See more at: http://nativefishsociety.org/index.php/conservation/keep-em-wet-campaign-photo-contest/#sthash.GhezXHJO.dpuf