Catch and Release Trout Fishing

Last Updated on October 2, 2023 by Kyle Whitley

catch and release trout fishing

Catch and release trout fishing is a great way to enjoy the outdoors while also helping to conserve our natural resources. It’s a popular activity among anglers of all ages, and it’s easy to learn the basics. You can have a successful day out on the water with the right equipment and knowledge, catching and releasing trout.

This blog post will discuss why catch and release trout fishing is important, what gear you need, how to properly handle your catch and more. Whether you’re an experienced angler or just getting started, this guide will help you get the most out of your next fishing trip.

Catch and Releasing Trout: A brief guide

Catch and release is a popular method of fishing that allows anglers to enjoy the sport without taking home their catch. It is important to follow the correct procedures when practicing catch and release in order to ensure the fish’s survival. The first step is to use barbless hooks, making removing the hook from the fish’s mouth easier.

Once you have caught a fish, bring it quickly to the net and handle it as little as possible with wet hands. Use forceps or pliers to remove the hook from its mouth if necessary. When releasing the fish back into the water, point its nose into the current so that water flows over its gills and supports it gently until it swims away.

This is especially important for trout, which should be released immediately after being caught to ensure their survival. When handling trout, keep them in the water as much as possible and handle them gently; if a trout is hooked deeply.

Getting trout to the net

Landing a trout is an art form that requires skill and patience. The key to getting the trout to the net quickly is to use appropriate tackle and keep the fish up-stream of you so that you can take advantage of the river’s flow.

Moving your rod left and right will create side strain, allowing you to get the net below the water as soon as possible. It’s also important to use heavy tippet material, with a recommended size of 0.135mm-0.15mm diameter when river trouting.

When handling fish, it is necessary to be gentle to keep its protective slime and prevent damage to its gills. Hold the fish, let it rest in your hands, and support it.

fly fisherman holding a trout and and releasing it back into the water

The effect of temperature

The temperature of the water is a critical factor for trout and grayling, two popular species of cold-water fish. These fish prefer temperatures of less than 15C, and water temperatures above 20C can be lethal.

As the temperature increases, their chances of survival decrease significantly. Air temperature is not a reliable indicator of water temperature; anglers should take the temperature of the water before fishing to ensure that it is suitable for these species.

Temperature also affects the behavior of trout and grayling. When the water is too warm, they become sluggish and inactive, making them more difficult to catch. In addition, warmer waters can cause stress on these fish, leading to disease or death.

For this reason, it is important to regularly monitor the water’s temperature when fishing for these species to ensure their safety and well-being.

Barbless hooks

Barbless hooks are a great choice for anglers who want to ensure that the fish they catch are released unharmed. These hooks are designed with no barbs, making them easier to remove quickly and causing less damage to the fish than barbed hooks.

Barbless flies are available from Barbless Flies, with 50p donated to WTT for each fly collection ordered without a plastic fly box. Experienced anglers do not believe using barbless flies will result in more lost fish.

Trout have delicate mouths and can easily be damaged by barbed hooks, so it is important to take extra care when fishing for trout. To prevent this, mash down the barb of your hook when fishing for trout. Doing so will help ensure that trout are released intact and able to open and close their mouths properly.

This simple step can make a big difference in preserving the health of our fisheries and ensuring that future generations can enjoy the same quality of fishing we do today.


Nets are an essential tool for any fisherman, as they allow for the safe and efficient removal of a hook from a fish. Nets minimize the handling of the fish, keeping it in the water while removing the hook. The best nets have a fine rubber mesh that dries quickly, is easy to disinfect, and doesn’t smell.

Alternatives to using a net can be damaging to the fish. It is not recommended to let the fish dangle from the line or squeeze it. A landing net allows for complete control and keeps the fish in the water while removing the hook.

This helps protect both you and your catch from harm and ensures that you can release them back into their natural habitat unharmed. Nets are an invaluable tool for any fisherman practicing ethical fishing.

Removing hooks

Removing hooks from a trout is an important part of fishing responsibly. Using the right tools and techniques is essential when removing a hook from a trout’s mouth.

Always carry long-nosed forceps or a release tool when fishing, as these are the best tools for removing hooks safely and quickly. When removing the hook, do not squeeze the trout’s body as this can cause serious damage to its delicate skin. If the hook is deeply embedded, it may be necessary to cut the leader close to it and leave it behind.

When fishing for trout, it’s essential to flatten the barb on your hook to minimize harm when unhooking them. This will make it simpler to take the hook out should they get caught.

If a barbed hook is snapped out of a trout’s jaw, it can easily break off the fragile jaw plate, so using needle-nose pliers to debarb your hooks.

removing fly from freshly caught trout with forceps

Holding trout for photos

Holding a trout for photos is an important part of the fishing experience. It is important to handle the fish carefully, supporting it just behind the head and firmly holding the tail’s wrist.

Larger trout should be supported with two hands, and squeezing should be avoided as it can cause internal damage. When taking photos, keep the fish out of the water for no more than 10 seconds. Keeping the protective slime intact and avoiding dry hands is also key to keeping the trout safe during this process.

When taking a photo, hold the fish out of the water for a short time. Taking pictures while cradling the fish half in/half out of the water is best when fishing alone. If you can, taking photos of a trout in its natural environment can offer a unique perspective.

However, it is important not to put the trout up on the bank to photograph it, as this can injure it. By following these guidelines when handling and photographing trout

Letting it go

Letting go of something can be difficult, but it is often necessary to move forward. This is especially true when releasing a trout back into the wild after a successful fishing trip. Letting the trout have the best chance of survival is key to letting it go properly.

Position the trout so it is facing into the current so water can flow over its gills. This will help ensure that the trout can breathe and recover from any stress caused by being caught and handled. Once this is done, hold the trout gently in the water until it moves off.

It’s important not to move it backward and forwards, as this can hinder breathing and cause additional stress. With these simple steps, you can be sure your catch will have a good chance of surviving in its natural environment.

What not to do when releasing a trout

When handling trout, there are a few important things to remember. First and foremost, avoid holding trout out of the water for more than 10 seconds. This can cause stress and harm to the fish, so it is best to keep them in the water as much as possible.

Additionally, do not lay trout on surfaces away from the water. Wet hands should be used when handling, and do not squeeze or get fingers near the gills. Landing nets should also be used whenever possible to minimize contact with the fish.

Trout have a protective slime on their skin that can be easily removed if touched with anything dry. Therefore, it is important to take extra care when removing hooks, giving them breathing time or taking photos of them. All of these activities should be done while keeping the trout underwater with wet hands to preserve their protective coating and ensure they remain healthy and safe.

Here Are Five Ways to Ensure Trout Survival When Catch and Release Fishing

Catch-and-release trout fishing is a great way to enjoy fishing while also helping preserve fish populations. When practicing catch and release, it is important to handle the fish with care to ensure their survival.

Five tips can help improve trout survival when practicing catch and release: using barbless hooks, wetting hands before handling fish, keeping the fish in the water as much as possible, reviving exhausted fish before releasing them, and avoiding touching the gills or eyes of the fish. Following these tips will help ensure that trout populations remain healthy and can be enjoyed by anglers for years.

Mark Kingwell’s book Catch and Release explores male bonding, procrastination, golf, cooking, and the relationship between reflection and action. It is framed around an annual fishing trip he takes with his father and brothers, serving as a metaphor for life itself.

5) Use a Net

Using a net is the best way to handle fish and remove hooks without damaging them. Nets provide complete control over the fish, allowing you to keep it in the water while removing the hook. Alternatives such as letting the fish dangle from your line or squeezing it excessively can cause damage to the fish, so using a net is essential for responsible fishing.

The best nets have a fine rubber mesh that dries quickly and disinfects easily. Knotted string or nylon nets have been banned in many areas due to their tendency to cause damage, so make sure you use one with a rubber mesh instead.

Additionally, look for a net that doesn’t smell too strongly of bait or other odors, as this can be off-putting for you and the fish. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to find a net that will help you catch and release your catches safely and responsibly.

4) Avoid Excessive Handling

Properly handling a trout is essential for its survival. When fishing for trout, it is important to minimize the amount of handling and contact with the fish. The best way to do this is to use a landing net when bringing the trout out of the water.

This will help keep its protective slime intact and reduce any stress caused by excessive handling. Additionally, it is important not to hold the trout out of the water for more than 10 seconds and never lay it on any surface away from the water.

Take photos of your catch quickly with wet hands before releasing it back into the water. It is also important not to touch the trout with hot, dry hands or squeeze it or get fingers near or in its gills as this can cause serious harm and even death. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your catch will be released safely back into its natural habitat.

3) Shorten the Fight

When fishing for trout, it is important to remember to keep the fight short. Trout are strong and can put up a good fight, so it is important to be prepared for headshakes and jumps.

However, it is also important not to rush the process and exhaust the fish. Doing so can cause too much stress on the trout, making a recovery impossible.

To shorten the fight with a trout, anglers should use their rod and reel to apply steady pressure while reeling in the line. This will help tire out the fish faster without causing too much stress or exhaustion.

Additionally, lighter tackle can help reduce fatigue on both sides of the battle. By keeping an eye on the trout’s condition throughout the fight, anglers can ensure that they don’t overstress or exhaust their catch before releasing them back into the water.

2) Avoid fishing in extreme heat.

Trout is a precious, limited resource that should be respected and released when caught. When the water temperature rises above 70 degrees, trout become heavily stressed and can’t survive in the warm water.

This is why it is important for anglers not to fish for trout when it is too hot outside. Trout need clean, cold water to survive and thrive, so fishing for them when the water is too warm can devastate their population.

Catch-and-release trout fishing can be done effectively by following certain tips, such as using barbless hooks, wetting your hands before handling the fish, and reviving the fish before releasing it back into the water.

Anglers should also practice catch-and-release trout fishing to help protect the species from overfishing or depletion of resources. By following these guidelines, anglers can ensure that they are helping to preserve this valuable resource while still enjoying a great day of fishing.

1) Debarb your Hook

Debarbing your hooks is an important part of fishing for trout. Trout have delicate mouths, and a barbed hook can easily break off the fragile jaw plate if snapped out of the fish’s mouth.

To ensure that fish are released intact, use needle-nose pliers to debarb your hooks before you start fishing. This will make removing the hook from the trout’s mouth easier without causing any damage.

Long-nosed forceps or a release tool are also important when fishing. If you cannot remove the hook quickly, cut the leader close to it and leave it behind as this is likely to cause less damage than a prolonged wrestling match.

When removing hooks, do not squeeze the body of the trout; instead, cradle it belly up in a net so that you can safely remove the hook without causing any harm. By following these simple steps, you can help ensure that all trout caught are released unharmed and

Help Protect Our Trout: Catch and Release Trout Fishing

Trout is a precious, limited resource and should be released after being caught. Catch-and-release trout fishing is an important practice that helps protect our trout population. To ensure the survival of the fish, it is essential to handle them with care and use proper techniques when releasing them back into the water.

When practicing catch-and-release trout fishing, anglers should use barbless hooks to minimize damage to the fish’s mouth and body. Additionally, reviving the fish before releasing it is also important as this will help increase its chances of survival.

To help improve trout survival when releasing them back into the water, there are five tips that anglers should follow: 1) Use barbless hooks; 2) Handle the fish carefully; 3) Revive the fish before releasing it; 4) Use appropriate tackle for the size of fish; 5) Release the fish quickly. By following these tips, anglers can help protect our trout population while still enjoying their favorite pastime.