A beautiful Trout is released back to the depths. Was it posed? Yes (SwittersB)

Handling Fish:

“Keep the fish in the water

Don’t lift fish out of the water – don’t even touch the fish if you don’t have to. Many fish can be released without ever touching them. Just bend over, remove the hook with your hand or with pliers, and let the fish swim away. Research has shown that keeping a fish in the water dramatically increases its chances of survival. Think of it – after the fight of your life, say going 12 rounds in a boxing ring or running a marathon, imagine having your air cut off! That’s exactly what we do when we lift fish from the water. Fish kept out of the water for more than one minute have a greatly diminished chance of survival, once a fish has been out of the water for three minutes, it has virtually no chance of survival, even if it swims away.

Keep your hands wet when handling fish

If you do handle a fish, and you do it with dry hands, it can cause some of the protective coating (“slime”) on the fish’s skin to come off. This coating is designed to protect fish from disease.” (more)

Here I hoisted a large Trout out of the water, in a net up, onto my apron. From there I work on releasing the barbed hook and lowering the net back into the water with the fish still in and release the fish once it looks ready to jet. Was this fish posed…hell yes!

Trophy shots of live fish…Fish Porn…Most of us do it. To celebrate the size, the beauty, the outcome, the proof, the epic quality of it all. But, most of us that do such things have close calls with fish that are too over taxed by the struggle to just jet away. They leave but then rise to the top, belly up or on their side struggling to correct. I pose few fish that are not partly in the water or but a few seconds out of the water.

But, if you end up in that harmful struggle on the bank, on the apron of a tube or the deck of a boat seriously don’t waste time with a stressed, stunned fish. No squeezing them to protect them while they thrash. If you celebrate the beauty and quality of those fish then forget the picture. Get the fish back in the water and make certain they are revived. 

This was a good moment. The fish was powerful and still fresh. But, leaning out like that, hollow foot rest and cradling the fish is problematic. It is precarious for me and the fish. If the fish jets and seemed ok then great. But sometime they surface 15 feet out from you and then a timely, often backwards response is in order as you turn, kick, position and attempt to recontact the fish in order to save it. As much as you cherish that fish is as much as you will feel panic or dread as that fish dies or struggles to survive. Yes, yes I know. Simply kill the fish. Well, short of hatchery salmon or steelhead I haven’t killed a fish in years. For many reasons. So, I do try to do all this recording of great moments in as expeditious/safe way as possible. Forfeit the picture if the fish is in harms way.