Handle With Care

Proper Fish Handling

Have y’all ever seen a fly fishing picture and cringe at the fish handling? Or do you find yourself checking the posts and stories from the notorious fly fishing meme pages while letting out a sigh of relief that you haven’t been targeted or roasted for anything not 10000% pure? Well, we aren’t here to judge. Just inform. I would love for y’all to share this blog post to help others, too!

Here are some helpful tips on proper fish handling. 

1) Never grip trout by the lip with your thumb or any tool. Never hold or put your fingers in their gills. Trout are more fragile than you might think. Also, this isn’t a largemouth, Bubba. So, let’s treat them right and ensure they survive. I’ll be saying that a lot in this post. Survive. That is the goal, we wouldn’t have a PB (personal best) if a previous fly fishermen didn’t properly handle the trout. 

2) Keep them and your hands wet!!! Yes, this is crucial. With that said, DO NOT WEAR gloves when handling trout. Trout have a protective layer of slime on their bodies that keeps them safe from fungal and bacterial infections. Their slime allows them to slip efficiently through the water. When you handle them with gloves it rubs the slime off and damages them. Watch this video through the end below to see what happens during 2 weeks after a tailing glove is used to release a trout.

3) Use a net with a rubber insert. Invest in a good one, it is worth it because the net will last longer and are made to prevent rubbing off the protective trout slime. Speaking of the trout, there is no need to lay it in the mud, grass, rocks or anywhere other than in or slightly above the water to get a shot of the fish. That causes super cringe. Seriously, stop that. 


4) Handle the trout as little as possible. We all get excited by the thrill of a catch and successfully landing one, however it’s important to get that picture and release it. A good rule of thumb is as soon as you lift the trout out of the water by holding them under their belly start counting, once you hit 5 it is time to get them in the water so they can breathe. A.k.A. survive. Also plan ahead. Want that trout to look bigger, hold it out in front of you, he is sure to look huge!

5) Release. However, some trout may need to be revived a little if it was a battle to land them. Try not to overplay them before scooping them safely in your rubber net, this also decreases their survival the longer it takes to land them. When releasing your trout, hold them facing upstream. This allows water (oxygen) to flow through their gills, if they aren’t spunky yet then gently move them back and forth. Soon you’ll feel them get that jolt of energy and “kick” off your hand and swim off. 

Keep in mind, these tips are to be informative and we would love to hear any of yours below.

Tight lines and good vibes, y’all!

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