“Keep ’em wet.”
That’s what I hear from folks about the best way to revive and then release a fish. So, I try to keep the trout in the net when I photograph them. Some examples below.
Yesterday, I hit a local freestone and was surprised to hook something very solid. Something pulled line from the reel a few times and was clearly good-sized and muscular.
Thankfully, the fish went upstream, and so, I didn’t have to chase it. I let the fly rod do the work, and when I felt the fish ease up, I applied some gradual side pressure.
I find that the “nice and easy” approach is best when playing good-sized fish. No jerking with the rod to further agitate the fish. Just gradual and firm pressure to ease in the trout. Only when it was close did I lift up its head to slide the net under it.
This amazing brown came to the net. About 15″. It most definitely is the largest trout I’ve caught in that stretch of water.
The fins looked perfectly formed, and I am wondering if it is wild. There’s certainly enough forage fish, bugs, deep pools, and oxygenated water in the area. Fun to think about.
I unclipped the net, wedged it among some rocks, and let the trout revive at its own pace. I decided to check my knots and fish for a bit.
After some casting and no takes, I walked back towards the net. The brown clearly was good to go. I released it, and it sprinted away. It felt great to see the fish look very healthy.
I know where you live, Mr. Brown. I hope we meet again.