IT'S OUR RESPONSIBILITY AS ANGLERS TO CARE FOR OUR WATERWAYS & GIVE FISH THE BEST POSSIBLE CHANCE AT SURVIVAL AFTER RELEASE
HOOK UP & NETTING
When you get a hook up, fight the trout firm & fast. Get the trout into your net & into clear water as quickly as possible so it can calm down, before trying to remove the hook. The more time the trout spends fighting on the end of your line increases injury & reduces the chance of recovery.
Trout are covered in a protective layer slime to prevent disease & infection. Excessive handling will remove part of this layer & will harm the trout. Taking photos of a trout lying in the dirt or sand removes their protective slime & risks serious injury to the trout's eyes, gills, fins & tail, especially when they start flopping around.
Firmly pull the hook out the same angle it went in. If your are using barbs & it has gone all the way through the trout's mouth, try squishing the barb down with pliers before pulling it out. You can also try cutting off the barb & slide the blunt end back through. Using single or barbless hooks & squishing barbs down on trebles makes hook removal a lot easier. If the trout does swallow the hook completely, cut the line off as close as possible, the hook (if plated or chemically sharpened) will rust out in time with the help of the trout's stomach acid, so don't worry. Avoid using stainless steel hooks at all costs, these can stay in the fish for years if they survive. Trebles can cause serious damage to smaller fish when they start thrashing around, I always switch trebles for assist hooks or use small egg hooks & barbless hooks.
Use trout friendly gear such as rubber nets when handling trout.
Squash barbs down on your hooks or use barbless hooks.
Use single or dual assist hooks wherever possible, trebles can damage the mouth & head.
Make sure your hand are wet when handling trout.
Keep trout in the water while removing hooks, lifting & supporting the head when you have to.
NEVER SQUEEZE TROUT, THEIR HEART IS IN YOUR HANDS!
- Their heart is located between the pectoral fins, squeezing here will serious harm.
NEVER DRAG TROUT OUT OF THE WATER ONTO THE DIRT WITH YOUR ROD.
- This will remove their protective slime, cause injury & infection.
NEVER HOLD THEM UP BY THE LINE, HOOK OR GILLS.
- This will cause injury to their spine mouth & gills.
NEVER TRY TO PULL OUT A COMPLETELY SWALLOWED HOOK OUT.
- This will damage the trout's stomach & possibly damage their air bladder.
- If you can't see the hook or get it our quickly, <5sec. quickly cut the line as close as possible.
BEST PRACTICE PRINCIPLES
1. ELIMINATE CONTACT WITH DRY & ABRASIVE SURFACES
2. MINIMISE AIR EXPOSURE
3. MINIMISE HANDLING TIME
Dry & abrasive surfaces such and dirt, sand & even your dry hands can remove the protective slime that trout are covered in. When this happens, it leaves a thinner area or exposed area on the trouts skin which is then prone to disease and infection from various bacterias in waterways.
Exposing trout the air for long periods effectively suffocates them. If your trout is struggling to recover after a catch, it's probably been out too long. In this case it is best hold & support the trout under clear water moving it back & forth gently until the trout regains its strength, removing it from your net & letting it swim away.
Excessive handling can also remove the protective slime. Make sure your hands are clean when your fishing, washing off any boat grease, dirt or other foreign material.
THE 'TROUT SELFIE'
'TROUT SELFIE' - CATCH & RELEASE
HAVE WET HANDS
- Make sure your hands are wet before handling the trout.
- Wear a smooth rubber glove or fish handling glove if you prefer no slime on your hands.
USE A RUBBER NET
- Rubber nets are smooth & allows the trout to be as comfortable as possible while in your care.
- Nylon nets are abrasive & will damage the trout's protective layer of slime, gills & fins.
LIFT! DON'T SQUEEZE
- Start by holding the trout just in front of it's tail with your forefinger & thumb.
- Place your other hand under the body supporting the head, allowing the pectoral fins to hand free.
- Lift the trout out of the water for a few seconds & have someone take your photo.
- If the trout starts thrashing around during your photo attempt, put it back in your net & try again.
- After your photo place the trout back in the water straight away & allow it to swim away.
- If it needs help recovering, slowly move it back & forth to flow clean water over the gills.
'SOLO TROUT SELFIE' - CATCH & RELEASE
SAFE LANDING LOCATION
- Find a safe place to land your trout with deep enough water to keep it submerged in your net.
CAMERA SET UP
- Find a place to set up your camera or smart phone at knee height at the waters edge.
- Use a lightweight compact tripod for ease of use & flexibility at your location.
- Face your camera away from the sun so your illuminated while taking your photo.
- Take a test shot and mark the best position on the ground.
- Turn on voice activation for your smartphone so you take the photo while holding the trout
- Set your camera for the maximum timer setting so you can prepare to hold the trout.
- Once you have hooked a trout fight it fast and guide it into your net.
- Make sure your net is not blocking the gills from breathing or crushing the fins.
- Remove your hook quickly, see Hook Removal for tips.
- When your ready, set your camera timer going or voice prompt your smart phone.