"Gordon, what is the best way release a trout?"

It’s important, especially in the summer, to know how to release a trout properly. In the summer water temperatures rise and get warm for trout, especially on the surface. So you’ll want to release your fish fairly quickly and keep it in the water as long as possible. To release:

  • Keep your hands wet.
  • Gills are fragile so don’t grab the fish by the gill plates or put your fingers underneath the gills. That hurts the gills.
  • To remove the hook, use forceps to grab the bend and pull out backwards
  • If the fish isn’t stressed, this is when you can lift it out of the water for a quick photo. Put the fish back into the water immediately after your snapshot.
  • Help the fish recover by putting it back in water without a lot of mud or stagnant water.
  • You can help the fish get swimming again by holding it by the tail and gently moving it back and forth. That makes sure it has good water flow over the gills.

In the summer, it is best to fish in the early morning and late evening, especially in small ponds where the water gets warm. This is when temperatures are lowest and trout have the best chance of recovery.

See how-to video on releasing fish too:

Gordon Edwards
Sheridan fisheries biologist

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