Effects of hook and release on salmon

Authors: Thorstad, E et al
Journal: Fisheries Research, Volume 60, Issues 2-3, Pages 293-307
Year: February 2003
Where: Norwegian Institute for Nature Research

In Norway, scientists found that salmon which had suffered any of the following:

  • increased playing time
  • repeated capture
  • hooking in the throat
  • bleeding from a hook wound
  • increased handling time
  • exposure
suffered from:
  • poor condition when released
  • increased stress
  • unnatural behaviour
Other research has found that, in other species, all of these harmful factors have increased the chance of the fish dying.

"The purpose of the study was to collect information on angling procedures and the effects of hook and release on Atlantic salmon in the River Alta, northern Norway, covering both grilse and multi-sea-winter salmon in a non-artificial setting with real anglers."


"Behaviour after release seemed to be affected by hook and release. ... Increased playing time, increased number of runs during the angling event, hooking in the throat, bleeding at the hook wound, increased handling time, air exposure and water temperature were factors that affected hooked and released Atlantic salmon negatively, either indicated by a poor condition at release, increased stress levels or unnatural behaviour after release.
salmon fishing stress in angling


"All these variables have been shown to increase mortality in other fish species."
Fish Pain