Landing a trout is stressful for the fish. So stressful that it can sometimes be fatal. Following these tips can help keep that fish alive.
Lee Wulff said, “Game fish are too valuable to be caught only once.” Most trout anglers these days follow Lee’s philosophy and practice CPR – catch, photograph, and release. Stocked trout aren’t really very good to eat, and wild fish are indeed too valuable to kill.
But there is much more to catch and release than just taking out the hook and tossing back the fish. You want to cause the least amount of stress and injury possible.
This video from Fish and Game New Zealand recommends these tips for stress free catch, photograph, and release:
1. Use a soft net, and wet your hands before touching the fish
2. Bring the fish to hand quickly
3. Use forceps or pliers to gently remove the hook, taking care to avoid damaging the fish’s mouth
4. Leave the fish in the water as long as possible
5. Get the camera completely ready before lifting the fish gently for the photo, taking care not to squeeze or put fingers in the gills
6. Hold the fish with the head upstream letting water flow over the gills
7. Let the fish swim away under its own power
Overall, try to reduce handling time as much as possible. They also recommend dipping the fish in and out of the water between shots. It keeps the fish in the water more, and a wet fish just looks better in the photo.
Brush up on your CPR techniques to ensure you safely release that trophy fish, and still get the photo to prove you caught it.