The hard part's over. You've baited the hook and cast the line. You've felt the pull and have confidently reeled in a beautiful 22-inch, three-and-a-half pound walleye. This fine catch deserves a picture, but it's putting up quite the fight, and that jaw full of teeth is less than inviting. If only you knew the best way to hold a walleye. Hold on tight and read on to learn more.
The safest way to hold a walleye is to grasp the fish behind its head. Unlike many smaller fish, walleye have a strong jaw and sharp teeth. By placing your palm across the back of the head and extending your fingers and thumb down around the sides, you not only get a firm grip but also protect your hands from the walleye's bite. This grip provides you with a basic mind frame for holding the fish, but there are other factors that may influence how you handle your catch.
If you wish to release the walleye after it's caught, you should be especially careful when handling it. Holding the fish by its eyes or gills could cause life-threatening damage. Do your best to keep the walleye in the water as much as possible. If the fish does lose consciousness, get a steady grip and then slowly move the fish back and forth underwater. This allows water to move through the gills and acts in a manner similar to CPR on a human being. By using the proper techniques to handle walleye, you increase safety for yourself and the fish. [source: Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation, Landing]