Catch and Release A Trout Effectively

Catch and Release A Trout Effectively: The good No-Kill Rules

The Good no-kill Rules 

Fisherman for more than 40 years, I have spent the last 20 years supervising the practice of fishing as a fishing guide-guide, first for young people, and since 2004 mainly for adults.

During all these years, the watchword set was to teach all my trainees how to fish and make them progress. But also make them aware of the fragile nature of aquatic environments and respect fish caught because they are released after capture.

Catching a fish is not always easy for a beginner and the advice often useful to achieve its ends. Ditto to release a fish in good condition.

I will be honest, I have sometimes found myself in situations where I doubted the chances of survival of a fish released by my trainees. Or, forced to witness the agony of a fish returned to its element after the stress test and the constraints of the catch. I myself have learned over time how I do it. Fortunately, these “accidents” are rare and I strive to keep them so. 

Causes of Mortality

The causes can be different and can come from the act of fishing, from the injury caused by the hook, from the handling of the fish after its capture, from a badly operated release or from a combination of these different operations.

This is why it occurred to me to write an article grouping together some tips for catching and releasing a trout effectively.

Glaciation, a classic translation of the well-known Anglo-Saxon term “no-kill”, is becoming an increasingly frequent act among the ranks of recreational fishermen. The technology that developed cheap and compact digital cameras in the early 2000s, and then phones with powerful photosensors, it is now easier to keep a memory of your fishing moments and catches. Without sacrificing a just trout for the sake of showing it to those around them. It’s time for recreational fishing, a hobby more than a gathering act as it could have been one or two generations ago. 

The fisherman thrives on contact with nature and running water. It regenerates. But as a good predator, it seeks to understand what is happening under the mirror, to discover each secret of the wild fish that stays there. And the challenge quickly becomes to catch a wild fario trout.

The fario trout is for once a very mischievous, fearful fish, which knows the dangers coming from this Homosapien walking on the bank adorned with its most beautiful panoply.

Perhaps she has already experienced the misadventure of a line and a bit trapped? Perhaps she has already been pardoned or returned to the water because she was too young? By survival instinct, she memorizes and knows how to put herself on alert as soon as she perceives a known or unknown risk.

The fario trout is one of these species which is highly coveted by the modern fisherman and multiple fishing techniques have been developed to catch it and are constantly evolving.

The spirit is to put the fish back in the water after capture, it is a shame to be satisfied with this purpose without worrying about the sequences which follow the hooking. Being more careful about the different stages, from catch to release, is a guarantee of success in the survival of pardoned fish.

I will, therefore, review some tips which, in my opinion, will allow everyone to be more vigilant and effective in the future in their operating model. And thus increase the probability of leaving a trout to live after release.

Here is a list of good rules for performing a clean no-kill:

Tips for Catching A Trout

Before catching a trout, you must, of course, trigger the button. Here, I will not teach you how to do it, other articles answer it. On the other hand, my first advice is to encourage you to shoe hook instantly if you touch one, in addition, if you are fishing with natural bait. Therefore, it generally avoids the ignition. The hook is then stuck on the front part of the mouth, easier to unhook than if it has reached the back moves and the tube of the esophagus. Pliers can help to unhook and recover your hook quickly. The problem does not arise if barbless hooks are used. A rocking from 90 to 180 ° followed by a slight reverse push to the fish releases your hook in less than two.

The best place where you can find the hook hooked is the edge of the mouth. This cartilaginous part is not provided with nerves and avoids suffering to the fish. In addition, it is not irrigated by the blood system, so no risk of bleeding.

If the hook is taken more inside, on the palate, for example, it is better to remove it with long-nosed pliers rather than with a disgorger. We are much more precise, the disgorger must be used in internal thrust while following the wire to reach the hook. And if its tip is too strong, it inevitably causes injuries in the back throat of the fish during attempts to pick up. Avoid it.

If, the hook is taken more deeply, has been swallowed or is stuck in the gill arches (rare), do not procrastinate and cut the line. The fish will have a much better chance of getting out of it and sometimes it succeeds in expelling the hook and the end of the hair after a while.

From the hook, the fish gets stressed. It is recommended to shorten the fight to avoid exhaustion. An experienced fisherman will be more comfortable with the method. The limit between doing too much and not enough is only acquired with time and experience. 

It is common for the fish, as soon as it feels trapped, to go away from the direction of hooking. Let him go! A properly adjusted reel brake prevents breakage.

After trying everything to get free, the fish will calm down. This is when you have to start recovery, preferably by facing or downstream from its position in the river, to better tame it and bring it back to yourself.

Do not hesitate to replace yourself to give yourself the best chance of capturing it. If he leaves violently, repeat. If its energy is moderate, it is then necessary to recover the line and bring it back.

A tip to shorten the fight is to tilt the rod during the fight so that the fish stays in the lower layer of the river to avoid the surge of surface waves. It will then be easier for you to bring it close. The gain is of several seconds guaranteed!

Once within reach of the cane, it is time to raise the cane and capture it. Either by hand, if the fish is small, or with a landing net if the current is strong and/or the fish of good size.

Appropriate equipment helps enormously in shortening a fight. A rod with a good reserve of power (which does not twist to the cork at the first pull) will be your best ally. Let us remember that an unnecessarily prolonged fight can lead to the total exhaustion of the fish.

Tips for Handling Trout Properly

The trout are caught. Depending on the situation, it is held in our hands or reserved in our landing net kept in the water.

As much as doing little, it is best to operate using your hands having taken the time to get them before seizing. The reason? Whatever the net used, its contact with the surface of the skin systematically removes part of the mucus supposed to protect the fish from diseases and fungi.


Getting your hands wet is the first thing you can do to avoid spoiling the mucus. Reducing the time spent out of the water is also important. Exposure to air stresses the fish a little more and increases its heart rate. He is no longer able to breathe and suffocates slowly.

I noticed that after about 10 seconds, the fish struggled. I concluded that this is the maximum time when the fish agrees to be carried out of the water before ending up in apnea. If the stall could not be carried out within this time, the fish must be put back into the water immediately, let it catch its breath for several seconds, which will calm it down, to attempt a stall again. This time allows you to reflect and decide how to operate effectively on the second try.

The mistake not to make (and still too frequent) is to squeeze the fish when it struggles. Squeeze a fish tightly and it will move even more. He expresses his distress there, it must be understood. Certainly, has he spent too much time outside the water …

If we tighten, our hand being often positioned behind the head and pectoral fins, it compresses all the internal anatomy of the fish not prepared for it. Heart, liver, stomach, gallbladder, and spleen are positioned in this area. Imagine what the pressure of a hand can cause damage to his vital organs … So make sure to stay soft in the grip.

Another measure, take into account the temperature difference between air and water. Trout being a cold-blooded animal, it is not ready to undergo a thermal shock. Taking it out of cold or temperate water to handle it in hot summer air can shock or even cause a heart attack.

In addition, as soon as the water temperature is above 18 ° C, the trout adopts a stress behavior. It is already weakened and accidental mishandling could quickly condemn it. On the other hand, in rainy and mild weather, the fish supports better handling out of its element.

Taken with A Landing Net:

In the case where the fish is of good size, or it is caught while our positioning turns out to be delicate, in the middle of powerful waves, for example, then the use of the landing net is preferable. It reassures us and ensures the capture. Once the fish has slipped into the spit, avoid lifting the dip net out of the water. The fish are therefore exempt from struggling and rubbing their way through the cracks. The use of a landing net with a rubber-type plastic net is preferable. Nylon composite nets are much more abrasive and can remove some of the mucus from the fish on contact.

If possible, unhook the fish by keeping it in the submerged landing net. As it is no longer fought, it will slightly de-stress and recover. Do not wait too long to pick it up, it is better that it is still a tired choice than ready to leave. Easier to grab and remove the hook. If it is not possible to unhook it in the landing net, repeat the recommendations cited above relating to grip with the hands.

Souvenir Sequence:

A beautiful fish deserves to be immortalized by a photo. Who has never done it? Of course, within reason. Most digital cameras and cell phones are now equipped with burst mode. A good thing to shoot the portrait quickly without wasting time. And having the assurance of leaving at least one correct photo in the batch. 

During this session, which should be as short as possible, remember to be in the water and if possible bend or squat to avoid the drama in case of letting go.

The presentation of the fish can be done flush (recommended and aesthetic) or raised in the foreground. In this case, care must be taken to support the fish from below on a horizontal plane. Two front and rear holding points provided by the hands are preferable in the case of a trophy fish. And don’t forget to smile 

Absolutely prohibited!

Fish placed on the ground, fish placed in the snow, kept with dry hands, kept out of the water for too long, held above hard ground which, in the event of a fall, could cause irreversible trauma, released in throwing or dropping, tightened too tightly in the hands, held with a cloth, hanged vertically in a vacuum, subjected to a water/air thermal shock, photo sessions too long, fingers improperly placed in the eyes or under the seal in contact with the gills among others …

Bracket on the Bleeding

It can happen to bite the fish on a part of the back of the mouth irrigated by blood. And of course, cause bleeding. Since the trout is not hemophiliac, if the injury is mild, it should quickly clot and therefore heal.

There remains the problem of reaching the gill arches. Although rare, in this case, it is less likely that the fish will survive this lesion. Even if not impossible. It is up to everyone to see if the release in the water is justified in this case. If the fish meshes and the fishing area allows the taking, as much to sacrifice and do him honor by tasting it at the next meal.

Release A Trout Effectively

Tips for Effective Release

It is time to give freedom to the fish caught. Some recommendations to make sure everything is going to end well. Of course, do not drop the fish from the top if it has been removed from the water. Gently bring it into its element and keep it well in a position against the current, ensuring that the head is fully submerged. Choose an area subject to current without being too fast.

Round-trip movements are not mandatory unless you are operating in a quiet area. The rear movement is slow because it is only the front movement which benefits the trout in its breathing.

Remove the fingers from the gates so that he can resume normal ventilation and wait for him to resume a heart rate allowing him to again exert an effort and win the sea. You will feel that this is the right time when it starts to activate its muscles and fins. And if it leaves like a rocket at the moment, it’s good, you can congratulate yourself for not having too traumatized the fish between catch and release. Conversely, if he stays with you for a long time, if he gets on his stomach or if he bleeds, something went wrong and could have been done better on this grip. It’s up to everyone to analyze the error that may have been made and learn the lesson for the next time!


Handling should be reduced to a minimum, otherwise, the fish will be negatively impacted. The mortality caused by the practice of releasing is often underestimated. The rules set out above are capable of reducing cases of mortality, most of which are invisible immediately after release. I probably forgot some other important ones… It’s up to you to add them or to communicate them to me to enrich the article.

Thanks to his no-kill recommendations, you will now be unbeatable on the steps to effectively catch and release a trout.