How to Kill Trout Quickly on the Fly

Trout Dying To Get a Good Photo

We all should know the rules for releasing a trout with the best chance of survival, but there is one rule that is almost never included in articles about successful releasing.

So, you have landed the fish as quickly as possible to limit capture stress and you are about to pick up the fish and a get a few ‘grip and grin’ shots before release.

But, grip and grin, can all too often turn into grip and kill, and it is all down to where and how you grip the trout that can determine its survival.

Bish and Fish go over basics to hold trout and ensure proper catch and release techniques.

Bish and Fish go over basics to hold trout and ensure proper catch and release techniques.

Have look at the anatomical drawing above showing the main internal structure and components of a trout. Take particular notice where the heart is (red outline) – between and under the gills and liver, just above the Pectoral fins.

These three organs, heart, gills and liver are very susceptible to damage, although not always immediately obvious, unless the damage is very severe leading to immediate death. A fish subject to external pressure to the heart and other organs may swim away on release, but many die soon after.

Gripping a fish in the pectoral area using inward force and squeezing pressure will compress the heart and maybe the liver and gills. The outcome for the fish is not going to be good, even if it does manage to swim away on release.

Click here to read more of the article from Bishfish.

Catch and Release

Fly Fishing Guides

18 thoughts on “How to Kill Trout Quickly on the Fly

  1. Pingback: How to Handle Trout Better | Red's Fishing Report and Blog

  2. I always pick one up with both hands supporting the whole body ,releasing it gently into the water . so ofter ive seen ppl throwing them back in or worse yet kicking then back in . so many ppl that keep there fish don’t knock them out to reduce stress on the fish . ive seen so many leave them still alive laying on the side of the bank . its so sad . if you catch a trout with eggs coming out PUT IT BACK IN THE WATER


  3. Am I the only person who thinks dragging a fish out of its natural habitat via a metal hook through the face is just as stressful and damaging as picking it up? Alot of people seem to forget about the first part of the equation. If you are so concerned with a fishes well being leave it alone entirely.


  4. Pingback: Hvordan håndtere Ørreten så den ikke dør etter kort tid | DuckCity AdventureTeam

  5. Pingback: c&r på rätt sätt -

  6. A good timely reminder well said,……focus on getting a photo should not over-ride what should be the primary consideration, that of a quick and gentle unhooking and holding in the current until they kick away. The message cannot be stated too often, – especially here in the UK where we have ‘activists’ against fishing and any form of hunting. I think you call them treehuggers in the US


  7. No doubt how you handle fish will to some extent related to its survival.
    That said l have worked at a trout hatchery and so far as careful handling, much as we see with anglers, that’s generally not the case. Here mortality after human handling is generally very low.
    Not always the case after shocking surveys, often as not this can result in high mortality, that l have witnessed.
    What l do know is, if a fish bleeds due to the hook, being dropped, odds of long term survival are very low.
    That said as much as we fly fisherman try to avoid mortality, we are at times the cause of it.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s