Pro Tips: How to Treat a Trout Right

I receive a lot of photographs of great fish from anglers out in the field. Most photos are well done, but many are unpublishable for a simple reason: the photo shows poor fish-handling technique. I won’t post a photo with a fish lying on the ground (even if it’s in a net), if there’s a finger in the fish’s gills, and so on. My very least favorite photos, the ones that make me actually wince, show an angler with a thumb in a trout’s mouth, as if the fish were a largemouth bass.

Above is a pretty good video that covers a lot of ground, from how to fight a fish to what to do with it after you’ve caught it. If you’re new to the game, this is a good primer, and even experienced anglers will pick up a pointer or two. Remember, the better we treat the fish we catch, the more likely that fish will be there for someone else to catch later.

14 thoughts on “Pro Tips: How to Treat a Trout Right”

  1. Superb!! AND you were right, even an experienced fisherman can learn from the video. I am a guide on Douglaston Salmon Run, NY’s Salmon River. Even in the two fly zones there are serious issues with properly release of Trout. I read evrything I can on this topic and you’re emphases on “preparation” is great. We actually talk our clients thru the photo, catach and release sequence. Seeing a trout swim off on his own is a great moment for me and I try to commuicate that to my guests.

    Thanks for a great teaching tool!


    1. The host had a great attitude and a down to earth demeanor. I loved it when he said in case your buddy “biffed the shot” to get the fish back in the water. I never expected to hear “biffed” on the Orvis blog.

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  5. Hey Phil,
    Good stuff! I would like to get in contact with you about partnering for some articles. Please give me an email at your convenience.

  6. The best way to treat trout is on the grill with a little salmon seasoning.. Ones that are strictly scud fed have the brightest orange meat and the best flavor..

  7. Bringing them in hot and deftly removing the hook with hemos is a next level skill more anglers should master. No grin and grip but it’s better that way.

  8. Thank you for publishing this post. Like you, and apparently many other anglers, I get upset when I see people doing stupid things to fish. Hopefully, videos like this will help to reduce stupidity.

  9. You publish way to many grip and grin hero shots on this sight to claim any sort of superior handling policy. There is no reason in the world to take the fish out of the water. Over 10 seconds out of water and the fish is suffering damage. Do you want to minimize fish mortality? Have Orvis stop selling barbed hooks.

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