Catch-and-release trout fishing is a beautiful practice to preserve such a wonderful natural resource, especially when it comes to native and wild trout.
There are many factors that need to be taken into account so it is done properly and the fish can return back to its normal feeding position in the stream.
When it comes to trout fishing, you don’t want to fish when the water temperature is 70 degrees or above. The warmer water holds less dissolved oxygen and will be an issue when playing the fish.
Try not to totally exhaust the fish as you bring it to your net. Lactic acid is building up the longer it takes to bring the fish in. When landing the fish, the newer rubber nets are less abrasive to the fish and are recommended.
It also is a good practice to use a single barbless hook and make sure to carefully remove the hook because, if a fish bleeds upon hook removal, then the chances of that fish surviving are very poor.
Using forceps can help to remove the hook. Treble hooks are more likely to rip up a trout’s mouth.
Bait fishing is bad when the fish swallows the hook and bait. It is a death sentence to try to remove a swallowed hook which almost always leads to a bleeding trout. Fly-fishing is a nice way to go because you almost never have to deal with a swallowed hook.
Make sure you wet your hands before touching the fish. Dry hands remove the protective coating on the fish's skin and can lead to skin infections.
If you are going to take a picture, keep the fish in the net while submerged in the water as you get your camera ready. I keep my phone in the front pouch of my waders for easy, quick access. Taking a pic of the fish in the net is a fast and easy way to get a photo and quickly return the fish to moving water.
If you pick up the fish, never stick your fingers in its gills. The gills are delicate and essential for the fish to breath underwater.
Never pick up a trout by the lip like you do with a bass. The trout’s mouth is delicate and can be damaged. Never pick up the fish and tightly squeeze its internal organs. Gently pick up the fish by cupping your hand under its belly.
If someone else is taking the pic then your second hand can hold the fish in front of its tail. Take several quick pics in rapid succession and release the fish into the water, or if taking another pic, lower the fish into your net in the water.
Let it get a chance to revive with its head facing upstream with the water flowing over the gills. Assess the fish. If it had enough, then quickly return it to the water. Don’t take any pics of a fish on dry ground. The ground damages the fish’s skin and the protective coating on the skin.
Keep the fish wet is rule No. 1, so always keep it near water. Also never put the fish on ice or snow because it can freeze the gills.
Do not revive a fish by pushing it forward and backward in the water. This can damage the gills and drown the fish. Keep the fish upright with its head facing upstream in flowing current.
Never stun a fish by throwing it back into the water, always gently and carefully release it in the water. Make sure it stays in flowing oxygenated water as it recovers.
Soon it will dart away to deeper water and maybe you will get lucky and catch the same beautiful fish again on another day.
Tight lines and good luck!
About the columnist: Dr. Joseph Simons is the vice president of the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association and a board director for Trout Unlimited via the Stanley Cooper Chapter. He enjoys traveling throughout the watershed in pursuit of native trout, sharing his adventures via photo essays on social media.
3/11/2021 12:52:29 pm
It was really helpful when you said to not fish when the water temperature is 70 degrees or above. My husband is wanting to look into getting a cast net for fishing trips he plans on going on in a couple of weeks, and he wants to know how to keep the fish alive when he does go fishing. I'll make sure to pass these tips along to him as he searches for a cast net to get for his fish.
4/30/2021 08:51:52 pm
Thanks for your informative fishing tips article. I love fishing, that’s why I’m here to read your informative article. Here you mention the water temperature in this blog, I don’t know more about water temperature, so I’m learning many things about it. Thanks again.
5/24/2021 08:37:30 am
I loved this and it helps out a lot with my younger siblings that want to become a fisher
6/8/2021 11:19:00 pm
6/16/2021 02:03:07 pm
I am sure you must be going to like this read
6/22/2021 08:15:13 pm
I appreciated it when you shared that you won't have to deal with a swallowed hook if you try fly fishing. My uncle just mentioned the other day that he is planning to take his sons on a fishing trip so they can learn how to catch a fish with the right method. I will suggest to him taking them for fly fishing with a reliable service.
7/1/2021 01:40:28 am
Excellent writing! We can take away a lot of important information from this article. Keep sharing great posts.
8/9/2021 01:43:40 pm
A general rule of thumb is that fish should be allowed to recuperate outside the body for ten seconds before being released back into their native habitat. Then they will have an opportunity to release calm water and oxygen depletion has its way with them slowly, instead of powerful currents, or the colder temperatures of water below. Yes - the point here is not to kill them straight away. Waiting a couple minutes can do wonders!
9/2/2021 05:27:50 am
Great catch brother!
10/20/2021 08:17:08 am
The information was really helpful to my younger siblings who are interested in becoming fishermen
9/17/2021 12:33:52 pm
It's good to know that you should wet your hands before you touch the fish. My husband is wanting to look into fly fishing. I'll make sure to pass these fishing tips along to him.
11/1/2021 02:12:19 am
My sons begged to go fishing with me so that I could teach them and they could catch a lot of fish and simply have fun. It could be beneficial for us to go with a professional so that we can have a great time and go deep-sea fishing. I loved what you stated about deep-water fish not being released on the surface because the water pressure is different and can cause a lot of issues.
11/29/2021 04:46:45 pm
I like how you mentioned that it is important to wet your hands before touching the fish to prevent skin infections. My uncle mentioned to me last night that he wants to experience boat fishing for his birthday next week and asked if I have any idea what is the best option to do. Thanks to this informative article and I'll be sure to tell him that it will be much better if they consult fishing services as they can answer all our inquiries and will provide great memories and experience.
1/15/2022 03:37:28 am
I like when you said let it get an opportunity to restore with its head facing upstream with the water flowing over the gills. My father will be celebrating his birthday soon. I plan to surprise him with a fishing experience. Thank you for giving me the idea of where and how to avail of a fishing boat rental service.
3/1/2022 06:38:43 pm
It's interesting when you said that practicing is important to make the most out of your trip. After moving to our current area, my wife wants to experience a fly fishing trip for her birthday next week, she asked if I have any idea what is the best option to do. Thanks to this helpful article, I'll be sure to tell her that I will consult a fly fishing trip service as they can answer all our inquiries.
3/4/2022 03:59:12 am
Thank you for having the time on sharing this informative article with us.
3/14/2022 06:14:13 pm
It really helped when you mentioned that it is important to carefully help the fish to get back to the water safely. My father mentioned to me that he and his friend are hoping to buy a fishing boat for our fishing trip next week, and he asked if I have any idea what is the best option to do. Thanks to this informative article and I'll be sure to tell him that they can consult a well-known fishing boat dealer as they can help with their desired boat.
3/29/2022 12:18:07 am
It reminds me of my last trip when you said "If someone else is taking the pic then your second hand can hold the fish in front of its tail''.
4/17/2022 09:54:54 am
Thank you for explaining that we should wet our hands before touching the fish since it can affect the fish's skin. My brother should know this since he wants to try catch-and-release fishing. I should advise him to look for a fishing charter that supports any type of legal fishing.
5/8/2022 01:38:06 am
Thank your for sharing, I would like to know more about how to catch fish faster. Keep sharing amazing content
It really helped when you said that it is a good practice to use barbless hooks to remove them carefully after catching a fish. As you said, it would give them the best chances of survival when they don't bleed. I will keep that in mind when my husband and I book a beach fishing guided trip this year.It will both be our first time doing so to celebrate the birthday of my husband.
6/3/2022 07:43:36 pm
It really helped when you said that we should not exhaust the fish when bringing it in, and newer rubber nets should be used as well because they are less abrasive. I will keep that in mind when we book an offshore fishing trip this year. It will be our first time so I hope to find professional guides who really care about marine life as well. So we don't cause any damage and injuries to the fishes and their habitat.
8/30/2022 01:27:02 am
Thank you for the advice on how to land the fish. The newer rubber nets are suggested because they are less harsh on the fish. My spouse enjoys fishing and wants to go fishing throughout the summer. I'll help him find a guided fly-fishing trip so he may practice and take pleasure in his new passion.
10/29/2022 11:07:31 am
Bait fishing is bad when the fish swallows the hook and bait. It is a death sentence to try to remove a swallowed hook which almost always leads to a bleeding trout. I’m so thankful for your helpful post!
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John Zaktansky is an award-winning journalist and avid promoter of the outdoors who loves camping, kayaking, fishing and hunting with the family.