..a little on “catch & release”…

 

One of ideas of responsible angling is of course how the trout are treated…especially in “C&R” waters which is where I fish 95% of the time…if you are catching  stockers for the grill, this is not what I’m talking about…but in streams and rivers where releasing your catch immediately is law…then this following little sequence may be of help and interest.

I am never ceased to be amazed at how some folks release trout…and the amount of damage that they cause …the whole idea is that the resource can be enjoyed by many…and that the 12″er you release properly today, may grow to be the 23″ catch of a lifetime for another…

Trout live in an aquatic world from the moment they are hatched until they die for the most part…their physical make up is 100% geared to that environment…they have a protective layer of “slime” that acts as a buffer against bacteria and other parasites…also it is a surface that helps them glide through the water. Rough nets, gloves & un wetted hands can remove that layer…and create scarring…these are facts and not some sort of theory!…contrary to the myths perpetrated by some  that fancy themselves experienced or knowledgeable anglers…if using that 10 dollar K-Mart net is your idea of proper netting…think again…those abrasive bags remove the protection creation gives those trout…I have had some “anglers” that are enamored with gear from yesteryear that the style nets used way back by God only knows who were and are just fine…they come from a day when stringers or creels full of of fish were the norm …way before conservation as we know it today was practiced…so please brake down and buy one of the$ 29.99 jobs with a rubber bag…that’s a super start!!…

The rest is really all common sense…let the fish acclimate after removing any hooks with forceps…and only handle if necessary…if you handle the fish wet your hands…dry hands are like 80 grit sandpaper to their body surface…and maybe the word “gentle” should be in the forefront…

I have gotten to the point nowadays that I rarely even touch a fish I catch…how much better a chance that nice 14″ trout will have to be someones fish of a lifetime!…on some bigger ones its unavoidable…but that “gentle” word and properly wetted hands  solves that just fine…

…here is a series of pics showing how I typically release a nice 15″ brown trout…

 

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…I just squeezed the bag a little to gently immobilize the trout so I could remove the hook with a pair of forceps…

…sometimes let them settle down a bit…

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…after the hook removal, for some reason trout always seem to try and swim down stream in the bag…

…I turn the net around and gently guide the fish in the upstream direction…

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…I raise the rear of the bag and aim the fishes nose into the current…no hurry…let it adjust to where it is…

…I also lower the bow of the bag below water surface…

…I usually find a shallow spot in soft current so the fish can gradually get back into the current…

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Generally they start to work their fins and body and start to move ahead…sometimes with an explosion…but if its a bit tired maybe slowly…at this point if it is not responding well, I wet my hands and work it back and forth so water runs through its gills…but this is rare…usually only on much bigger fish…

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…this is when it starts to get really cool…and you know that its all good …

…adios little guy!…

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…you have done your job…now check your rig and catch another!…

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…now go on and grow a bit more…watching them dart off is as much fun for me as the take…

…the fish is no worse for the wear…and other angler’s can repeat this process time and time again…

…and everyone lived happily ever after…

~all pictures on the road trip pages were taken by my Samsung Galaxy 4 phone!!!~

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