Trout Diva’s Overly Dramatic Guidelines for Handling Trout – Part 6

Welcome to Part 6 of “Trout Diva’s Overly Dramatic Guidelines for Handling Trout”

A CUT ABOVE …or… ‘TILL DEATH DO US PART
As we discussed earlier, it is of paramount importance to protect the trout from internal damage.  But, how do you do that when, as trout fishermen know, they will often swallow the hook?

It starts with a mindset…  Do not ever try to extract a hook or fly from the gullet, or even part way down the gullet.  Period.  End of Story.  Not even carefully.  Not even really carefully.  No.  Just. Don’t. Do. It.

Know that you’ll kill them every time.  Even if they don’t die immediately, they’re going to die.  Just put that in your head and keep it there.  The rest comes easy!

Just cut the line above the hook, as close to the eye as possible.  (If you’re using something like powerbait or the like, pull it off if you can easily reach it after cutting the line.)

“What? Leave the hook or fly IN them???” you say…  Yup.  Leave it.  If you’re not used to the concept, I know it “feels wrong”.  It felt really wrong to me when I first learned it, too.  But it’s right.

The hook will dissolve in a week or two, and the trout will live.  Hooks are cheap, and we have more flies in the fly shop. (This is why we don’t sell hooks that won’t rust, like stainless steel, or other types of salt-water hooks.)

Oh, but you have one of those fancy hook removal tools?  If the hook is in the mouth or jaw, fine…  but not down the gullet.

Again, most people are trying to get the hook out because they believe they are helping the trout – a common misconception…  just cut the line and get them back in the water – they’ll be fine!

Just remember, their chance of survival is much, much higher than the risk of getting the hook out.

And again, both the trout and we thank you!

Your White River Trout Diva
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Trout Diva’s Overly Dramatic Guidelines for Handling Trout – Part 5

Welcome to Part 5 of “Trout Diva’s Overly Dramatic Guidelines for Handling Trout”

BE MY MAIN SQUEEZE …or…  THE VULCAN DEATH GRIP

This is something that a lot of people don’t realize, especially men that tend to have really strong hands anyway…  Trout are very delicate fish.  They are easily injured.  This includes squeezing them too hard.

Have a look at just where the internal organs of a trout are:

Trout Anatomy

Trout Anatomy

(credit for this photo http://www.biographixmedia.com/biology/trout-fish-anatomy.html)

So, seeing how the inside of a trout is more or less laid out…  where is someone typically squeezing a trout?  Yup, their hand is typically over the liver, air bladder and heart (atrium, ventricle & conus arteriosus).

If you have ever been guilty of forcibly taking a hook out, and the trout started bleeding heavily from the gills, it probably wasn’t damage from the hook itself.  It was likely the pressure exerted on the fish while it was being held that ruptured the conus arteriosus (think of it as the big artery from the gills to the heart in a trout.)

Another common, similar scenario is one where after forcibly removing a hook, the trout “seems” fine, but can no longer hold itself upright, even after properly trying to revive it.  Busted air bladder is the culprit…  that trout’s a goner.

Why do people squeeze them in the first place? Typically, the trout are being squeezed in an effort to hold them still (they are SO slimy) while the angler attempts to remove the hook or fly, because it is a common misconception that they must be removed at all cost.

Well, as we’ve just learned here, the cost is usually the life of the trout, because their internal organs are damaged in this process (in addition to probably being kept out of the water for too long).

We’ll talk next about just how to handle deep-hooking…  but just remember, trout are delicate…

Please…  Don’t…  Squeeze!

The Trout Thank You…  and so do we!

Your White River Trout Diva
His Place Resort
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mailto:julie@hisplaceresort.net
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Welcome to Part 5 of “Trout Diva’s Overly Dramatic Guidelines for Handling Trout

BE MY MAIN SQUEEZE …or…  THE VULCAN DEATH GRIP

This is something that a lot of people don’t realize, especially men that tend to have really strong hands anyway…  Trout are very delicate fish.  They are easily injured.  This includes squeezing them too hard.

Have a look at just where the internal organs of a trout are:

(credit for this photo http://www.biographixmedia.com/biology/trout-fish-anatomy.html)

So, seeing how the inside of a trout is more or less laid out…  where is someone typically squeezing a trout?  Yup, their hand is typically over the liver, air bladder and heart (atrium, ventricle & conus arteriosus).

If you have ever been guilty of forcibly taking a hook out, and the trout started bleeding heavily from the gills, it probably wasn’t damage from the hook itself.  It was likely the pressure exerted on the fish while it was being held that ruptured the conus arteriosus (think of it as the big artery from the gills to the heart in a trout.)

Another common, similar scenario is one where after forcibly removing a hook, the trout “seems” fine, but can no longer hold itself upright, even after properly trying to revive it.  Busted air bladder is the culprit…  that trout’s a goner.

Why do people squeeze them in the first place? Typically, the trout are being squeezed in an effort to hold them still (they are SO slimy) while the angler attempts to remove the hook or fly, because it is a common misconception that they must be removed at all cost.

Well, as we’ve just learned here, the cost is usually the life of the trout, because their internal organs are damaged in this process (in addition to probably being kept out of the water for too long). 

We’ll talk next about just how to handle deep-hooking…  but just remember, trout are delicate…  

Please…  Don’t…  Squeeze!

The Trout Thank You…  and so do we!

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Trout Diva’s Overly Dramatic Guidelines for Handling Trout – Part 4

Welcome to Part 4 of “Trout Diva’s Overly Dramatic Guidelines for Handling Trout

TAKING THE GLOVES OFF …or… SLIME BALLS

You probably have noticed at some point that trout don’t have the same kind of scales that most other fish do.  (some folks say they don’t have scales at all…  I beg to differ!  They are extremely small, but when they are cleaned in one of my kitchens…  well, trust me, they do have many, many tiny scales!)

Yes, the little slime balls are probably one of the slimiest fish around…  Jesus put the slime on trout for a reason, though!  It protects them from disease and parasites.

So, what do we need to remember here?  No Gloves, No Towels, No Dry/Hot Surfaces (like the bottom of a john boat!), and Always Wet Hands… Gloves, towels, dry surfaces and even dry hands knock off that protective slime and leave them susceptible to parasites & infection.

Have you ever seen a trout with a fungus growing on it?  That’s likely because the slime was removed from improper handling by anglers.

Winter fishers, I’m sorry, I know you’re going to be hatin’ on me here, but…  please…

Put extra hand-warmers in your pockets to reheat your hands but please Take The Gloves Off when you handle the little Slime Balls… and the Big Ones, too!  :-)

Your White River Trout Diva
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Trout Diva’s Overly Dramatic Guidelines for Handling Trout – Part 3

Welcome to Part 3 of “Trout Diva’s Overly Dramatic Guidelines for Handling Trout”

DON’T BASS ME, DUDE …or… MY JAW FELL TO THE FLOOR

Been Watching the BassMaster Classic again, haven’t we???

I’ll be the first to admit, Bass just look really cool when they are being held with a thumb in their mouth and their lower jaw bent downward as far as it will go, making their mouth wide open…  it’s the “classic bass pose”, I think.

And it doesn’t seem to hurt bass…  If it did, I’m sure something would be done about it on that level in such venues.  But that style of holding a bass seems to have carried over onto the river, and I see people holding trout like that much too frequently…

Folks, you will break their jaw.  And yes, I’ve seen many trout with broken jaws!

Once again, until Jesus or the bio-genetic engineers at the hatcheries redesign and fortify a trout’s jaw…  just add “the Jawbreaker” to your list of ways NOT to hold a trout.  Here is what we’re talking about…

DON’T DO THE “JAWBREAKER”!

Besides that, when the trout get a little larger, over 16 inches, say…  their TEETH will rip you up when you put your thumb into their mouth!

“Oh, it’s OK because I wear gloves”, you tell me…  Uh-Huh…  (We’re gonna talk about that next…)

Trout need their jaws intact to survive.  There is absolutely no valid reason to hold them like this… just say “No” to the jawbreaker, and let that chunk eat another day!  We thank you!

Your White River Trout Diva
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Trout Diva’s Overly Dramatic Guidelines for Handling Trout – Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of “Trout Diva’s Overly Dramatic Guidelines for Handling Trout

GET A HANDLE ON IT …or… TEARING ME APART – Here’s one that everyone probably needs a little bit of a reminder on, as I see this rather frequently with both adults and children alike.

I don’t know how to say this any other way except, “Gill Plates Are Not Trout Handles… ” I can’t speak for other species of fish, but folks…  please…  do not pick up or hold trout by the gill plates for any reason… especially larger trout!

“Oh, but I don’t touch the gills themselves”, you say.  For other, hardier species, it might not cause much damage, and honestly, I can’t speak to that.  But be assured; it does damage trout!

I think the reason that this has become a more-or-less commonplace practice is because in the past, people just did not release fish that often…  you caught ‘em, you ate ‘em.  So, it didn’t really make sense to consider the damage this can cause, since they were dinner anyway.

But now we realize the importance of releasing trophy trout back into the river in order to have a healthy, larger, spawning population to keep the river full of quality fish (especially the Brown Trout).  So, we have to think differently and act accordingly.

Folks, it’s too easy to damage a trout’s gills with your finger through its gill plate; all the trout has to do is flop once and you’ve made contact with the gills themselves.  And trout are typically not holding still when you have your finger through their gill plate…

Worse yet, have you ever seen a trout with a gill plate ripped out?  I have.  It happens to the larger ones far too often.  They won’t always die, not right away anyway, but they are permanently maimed, and there is no reason for it.

That little bit of cartilage and skin was not designed by our Lord (or the mad scientists at our Trout Hatcheries) to support the weight of a trout.  Let me show you what I mean…

DO NOT HANDLE TROUT AS IN THE PHOTOS BELOW:

Just consider anything having to do with the gill plate area a Non-Option for fish handling.  The trout thank you…  And we do, too!

Your White River Trout Diva
His Place Resort
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Trout Diva’s Overly Dramatic Guidelines for Handling Trout – Part 1

Welcome to Part 1 of “Trout Diva’s Overly Dramatic Guidelines for Handling Trout

911 DISPATCH FOR DIFFICULTY BREATHING …or… YOU TAKE MY BREATH AWAY

My husband is on the Volunteer Fire Department, and is also our local, elected Constable.  So, I have been trying to get used to listening to the police radio all day, every day…  And one of the calls that I hear rather frequently is, “911 dispatch for difficulty breathing”.

And as I began to write this series about proper handling of trout, I thought how appropriate this phrase was to describe what I see happening to the trout far too often…  Children need special supervision in this area.  And why not?  They’re kids!

We certainly don’t want to discourage their joy and passion, but it is our responsibility as adults to be conservation-minded and to teach them kindly but clearly, “Trout Don’t Breathe Air!”

Folks, if you didn’t already know, trout are extremely intolerant of being kept out of the water, more than any other species I’m aware of.  They are certainly not like catfish, or even bass!  Although they may not die immediately, if you keep them out of the water for any length of time, they will likely die shortly after your release, even if they were able to swim away.

TIP – Here’s a good rule of thumb that I share with the kids, and one they can seem to relate to and remember:  When you take a trout out of water, blow all the air OUT of your own lungs, and then hold your breath.  (this approximates the fact that the trout just had to fight you to be brought in…)

How fast do you need air?  Get the trout back in the water that fast.  If you want more than one photo, great!  Put them into the water in between your shots, and showing them to your friends.

Regardless of the situation, remembering to keep the trout in the water as much as possible is the first and most important aspect of proper trout handling.

Your White River Trout Diva
His Place Resort
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Trout Diva’s Overly Dramatic Guidelines for Handling Trout – Intro

Trout Diva’s Overly Dramatic Guidelines for Handling Trout – Introduction:

Hello, everyone!

Well, fall is finally here…  Lake level is almost at pool, minimum flow has been implemented on the White River since July, and we are already seeing the positive effects on the river.

As you may have seen on our facebook posts, folks have been catching some nice fish…  some really nice fish… and handling them properly is extremely important with trout.  Now, we understand that not everyone grows up on the river, or gets to spend a lot of time here, so it’s not surprising that there are things that you might not have learned…

For example, you don’t just wake up in the morning and magically understand the inner workings of the  particle-accelerating, atom-smashing Large Hadron Collider, do you?  :-)  Of course not.  Well, knowing the proper way to handle a trout, especially a large one, is kind of like that.

OK, OK…  it’s absolutely nothing like that…  What I’m trying to say is: you don’t know what you don’t know until you learn what you don’t know… and then you know!

There are so many conscientious, conservation-minded people releasing these trophy fish, but I know that a number of these were unnecessarily maimed, injured, or went on to die simply because of improper handling…  and the people involved just didn’t know any different.

Most of them actually didn’t have to know any differently, either.  It used to be the common practice to harvest the larger fish to eat, or mount them on the wall, so it really didn’t matter how you handled them.  However, with fantastic artificial mounts readily available and fishermen realizing that the trophy fish are very important for keeping the population at its finest, we are now moving forward with a more conservation-minded approach, and I’ve found that most people welcome the advice.

I’m going to share a little secret with you…  I’ve wanted to write about this topic for quite awhile…  and I haven’t.  Honestly, I’ve just been somewhat afraid to offend folks.  I do fine discussing this topic face to face with people, but that’s where it ends…  Face time is easier for me than writing, because I can gauge a person’s response to what I’m saying and “dial it up or down a notch” accordingly.  Can’t really do that when you write; especially someone like me that has a pretty direct and often “overly dramatic” writing style…

What finally made me decide to go ahead with this piece is the fact that I’ve been doing a lot of work on my photo galleries (mobile site galleries are up!) and there were many dozens of photos of really nice trout that I just couldn’t use because I didn’t want to promote how they were being handled…  the more I looked at them, the more I knew that I had to write this!

In light of that, I just want to share with you, hopefully with some humor, a few things we’ve learned over the years that will help you protect the trout from unnecessary stress, injury and mortality…  and help you have a more enjoyable experience, too!

After all, won’t you enjoy it more knowing that the lunker you just released will live to fight another day?  (As you read more, keep in mind that these guidelines are especially important when handling large trout…)

In trying to determine how to best present this topic, I’ve decided to go about it “in reverse”.  Discussing how not to handle trout first will hopefully result in the final discussions on proper handling make a whole lot more sense.

And one more thing:  If it seems like I’m nagging, scolding, or otherwise being obnoxious, please just try to realize it’s a combination of my passion for the river and the trout, my personality, and my writing style. I believe that people are the most important thing to consider, but with that comes responsibility…

I also believe there is a sane, healthy balance of thinking and acting that will ensure we protect this wonderful resource without having to ever worry about losing it.

And if we’re lucky, along the way, we can instill in the kids a stronger appreciation of nature, by first teaching them to have a stronger respect of nature.  So, if you read this and feel a little sting, it’s OK.  You feel the sting because you care, just like I do…  and I’m not tryin’ to pick on anybody…  just love me anyway!

Hope you find the following articles helpful and entertaining!

Your White River Trout Diva
His Place Resort
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Blueways apparently defeated – for now…

Hello everyone!

Great news in the battle of the Blueways designation!  There was a standing room only meeting in Little Rock yesterday, lasting over 4 hours, where the voices of the people were heard…  “Blueway is the Wrong Way!”

Even though it’s over for now…  we’ll watch to see if this rears its head in another form down the road…

Read about how the state agencies backed away at the bequest of the very angry people (according to my contacts who were actually there) in this Baxter Bulletin article below:

http://www.baxterbulletin.com/article/20130628/NEWS01/306280029/State-agencies-back-away

A HEARTFELT, SPECIAL THANKS to Forrest Wood, who led the charge!

Your White River Trout Diva
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Blueway is the Wrong Way!

Hello, everyone…

As a business owner, especially in the hospitality business, one lives with the fact that it is often best to keep your opinions to yourself and your mouth shut.  After all, people are here to vacation, relax and have a good time, not become embroiled in political issues.

But sometimes…

I’ve told you about the National Blueways designation that the government is trying to enact for the entire White River Watershed…  I’ve been holding my tongue, trying to learn as much as possible before putting forth an opinion…

Well, I’ve heard enough…  and I definitely have an opinion.

Folks, I believe this will turn into nothing more than a Giant Federal Land Grab.  The people who have been living here are taking great care of the White River, thank you very much.  We don’t need the government coming in with their empty promises and feel-good rhetoric.

The Blueway designation ignores state sovereignty and has a governmental aim to control more and more of what belongs to Arkansas and Missouri and their citizens.

Part of the “appeal” is the possibility to “more easily procure federal funding”…  There’s the bait, folks…  When we take free federal money, we become puppets in a government controlled show.

This is simply another case of, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help…”  Have you ever known of any government program that didn’t come in, tax, regulate, penalize and eventually turn into a mis-managed train-wreck?

I’m sorry to sound so “conservative”, but puh-lease!!!!  This is the same government that fought us for 15 years on minimum flow, and fights us to this day to support the mitigation hatcheries around the country.

And now they want to “help”???

Thanks, but no thanks!

Several Arkansas counties have already passed strong “Resolutions To Oppose” anything having to do with this designation, and hopefully Baxter County will join the ranks July 2nd at the next Quorum Court Meeting.  (I wish the wording for the proposed resolution was stronger…  but that’s another story…)

At any rate, if you want to catch up; I have a lot of reading for you to follow further.

http://arkansas.securetherepublic.com/

http://www.baxterbulletin.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013306170014

http://www.baxterbulletin.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013306130022

http://www.baxterbulletin.com/article/20130626/NEWS01/306260014/Quorum-court-set-consider-Blueway-resolution

Anyway, for those of you who are residents of any county anywhere on the entire White River Watershed in Arkansas or Missouri, I strongly urge you to read up on this issue, contact all your local and state representatives, and vehemently oppose Blueways in any shape or form.

BLUEWAY IS THE WRONG WAY!!!

(I wish I could take credit for that phrase…  one of the most respected members of our community came up with that…  his initials are FLW by the way, and I know he’ll forgive me for using it…)

Let’s knock this thing down now while we still can.  It’s not good for the river, or the people that live here.

Thanks for listening!

Your White River Trout Diva
His Place Resort
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Every-Day Heroes

Hello, everyone!

You know, sometimes people just inspire you…  knock you flat out of your sense of complacency…  revive your vision, make you more grateful, and just remind you of everything that’s important in life…  This week, I laughed, I cried, and I marveled at what I witnessed in these two families – all playin’ out on a little fishin’ trip in the Ozarks.

Everyone at the Boat Ramp 1st Day

Picture 1 of 18

Everyone at the Boat Ramp the first morning. We started at Wildcat Shoals.

Well, that’s what the Rickman & Davis group did for us this week.  Two families, 8 people, great friends.  They’re my personal every-day heroes…  every one of them!  Sometimes life throws some serious curves at families, but this week I was blessed to see folks who overcome daily with a spirit of love and excellence.

Thank you all for sharing your vacation with us!  We love you all…

Your White River Trout Diva
His Place Resort
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