How to Properly Handle Trout – Pinedale Wyoming Fly Fishing Guides

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How to Properly Handle Trout – Pinedale Wyoming Fly Fishing Guides


How to Properly Handle Trout


In the net

A lot of trout do not need to be netted or handled to safely release them nor should they be taken out of the water too long for the grip and grin photos. Trout are a lot more fragile than many warm water species which is important to consider when handling them. You could release them in the water by pinching the hook with a hemostat or a very thin needlenose plier and give it a light twist or lift will remove the hook. Just be careful not to pinch the knot or you’ll give the fish some free jewelry. If trout must be handled, I would recommend using a fine mesh or rubber net designed especially for trout. Those fine meshed nets were designed to absorb and trap a small amount of water. So instead of scraping against the net, the fish will lay on a thin film of water. Fish usually flop around a lot less in those fine mesh net. If you must touch trout and you intend to release it, be sure to wet your hands first.

Keep the following rules in mind:

  1. Always wet your hands first before handling fish. Wet hands are less likely to damage the protective coating of mucous on the outside of the fish. This slimy layer helps protect the fish’s skin from disease and makes it glide easily in the water.
  2. Don’t allow fish to flop around on the bank, the dock, or the floor of the boat.
  3.  Gently lower it into the water until it begins to swim away. If it isn’t ready to swim, you may need to point the head of the fish into the current to get oxygen flowing through the gills. Be sure to wait until the fish has its strength before releasing it into the current.  Remember, no fish is a “junk” or trash” fish. All fish play important roles in the aquatic ecosystem.
  4. If you are not keeping the fish, using barbless hooks can make it easier to take the fish off the hook.
  5. Learn by watching an experienced angler.

Here’s a link to a great net manufacturer:




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