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!