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