Handling Trout

 How to Safely Release a Trout

photograph by Ahmad Terry

photograph by Ahmad Terry

Retrieve Trout Quickly – Bring trout in as quickly as possible, do not overplay the fish. Large Trophy Trout can be played to exhaustion resulting in loss of the fish.

Keep Trout IN the Water – Keep trout in the water as much as possible. Netting and fly removal in the water is the preferred method. If Trout is removed from the water for pictures etc, a good rule to follow is- Hold your breath when the fish is out of water. When you need air, so does the trout. If for any reason additional time is required, keep trout netted in the water and uprigjht.

Proper Release – If Trout is netted, Do NOT simply roll out of net. Hold net so that trout is upright and breathing. When it struggles to get out of net, then release. When net release is not practical, hold trout by the tail, upright, and (A) Still Water: gently move forward and back, with back motion very slow, not forcing water backwards through gills. (B) Moving Water: Hold trout with nose upstream, use gentle side-to-side motion, allow current to revive the fish. Wait until fish struggles to swim on it’s own to release.

Take your Time – Be prepared to take 5-15 minutes to properly release a Trophy Trout. The larger the fish and/or longer the retrieve, the more time necessary to properly release. Warmer water temps dramatically increase the release time.

Follow – Up – Observe Trout after release. If trout is still sluggish, or begins to roll to one side, retrieve again with net or hand and spend additional time for a proper release.

Courtesy of our friends at Rainbow Falls Mountain Trout