How to safely Catch & Release Fish

Catching a trout is an amazing experience any angler likes to have. But when it comes to safely catching and releasing trout properly, many people overlook some important points that prevent trout from dying after being caught. Always handle the trout with care, so other people can enjoy them.

Follow these steps to ensure you’re not damaging trout when you catch it:
  1. Use barbless hooks. They are much easier and faster to remove from the fish mouth and they’re proven to cause less damage to it.
     
  2. Use a rubber net. Rubberized nets (without knots) are designed to maintain as much of the slimy skin coating as possible. Other nets made from different materials, often harm the fish, and make removing flies more difficult. Wet the net before using it.
     
  3. Handle as little as possible with wet hands only.  Wet hands are less likely to damage the protective slimy layer that helps protect the fish’s skin from disease. If you’re holding it for pictures, use both hands to support it at the vent and the pectoral fins, and don’t ever squeeze it for a better grip.
     
  4. Quickly place trout in a rubber net. The sooner you get them in the net the better. When you exhaust trout in the fight, lactic acid builds up in its body. This can cause the fish to die eventually even after it manages to swim away. A general rule, if you can reduce the fight to under 2 minutes it really helps swing the tide in favour of the trout.
     
  5. Keep trout in the water. Trout can only breath in the water so it's best to only get it out of the water for a brief time. Think about how long you can hold your breath. It’s safer to do your measurement and take photos while the trout is in the net in the water. Never lay trout out on the ground for a picture. 
     
  6. Use a release tool to remove the hook. Fishing pliers are an easy and fast way to ensure that you removed the hook without cuts or any sort of damage. Be careful not to squeeze the trout to keep it stable while removing the hook because this damages its internal organs. If it’s deeply hooked it’s less damaging to cut the hook and leave it behind.
     
  7. Point their nose into the water. It’s important to oxygenate the trout and keep holding it until it gains strength before you release it. Don’t let it go until it gives strong tail-swimming movements and tries to escape your grip. 
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