Is a glove necessary to properly handle a fish?
No. If you keep the fish in the water as much as possible so that it can breathe, avoid lifting the fish vertically out of the water and avoid squeezing the fish, it will most likely be fine. If you can do all of that without a tailing glove, great!
Can I use a glove to properly handle a fish?
Yes. If you keep the fish in the water as much as possible so that it can breathe, avoid lifting the fish vertically out of the water and avoid squeezing the fish, it will most likely be fine. If you can do all of that with a tailing glove, great!Why does the NSSA promote tailing gloves?
The green tailing gloves that you see many people using to tail fish are provided by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF). The purpose of the tailing glove is so anglers can efficiently tail a fish while landing it and maintain control of the fish during the unhooking process. Maintaining control over the fish in a safe manner while leaving it the fish in the water during the catch and release process is important as it will minimize the stress that is put on a fish, thus increasing its chances of survival. However, a tailing glove is certainly not required to handle a Steelhead properly, although many anglers find it easier to do that while wearing a glove.
Do gloves harm Steelhead?
No, as mark recapture data shows. (please see below)
How do you know that tailing gloves are not negatively impacting Steelhead populations?
Mortality rates of adult Steelhead have not increased over time since glove usage and biologically sampling of adult Steelhead have become more prominent on certain tributaries. For example, since the inception of the McIntyre adult Steelhead Assessment program in 2008, the estimated adult Steelhead population has increased from approximately 1500 individuals in 2008 to over 3000 individuals as of 2020 (Figure 1.). Additionally, the annual average mortality rate for adult Steelhead in the McIntyre River has also decreased since the inception of the program (Figure 1.). If tailing gloves or sampling were causing excessive harm to Steelhead during the spawning migration, we would expect to see increased adult Steelhead mortality rates in tributaries where Steelhead are being biologically sampled, or where many anglers use tailing gloves. However, this is not what any of our data has ever shown since Steelhead sampling began on certain tributaries, in 1991.