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.
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.
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