Holding trout by the gill covers

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Re: Holding trout by the gill covers

Post by catskilljohn »

BrownBear wrote:
If you handled a trout that way, your hiney would hit the parking lot so hard your teeth would rattle.
I have to remember this one! HA!!!! CJ
"Gentlemen,remove your hats,this is it"
"This is where the trout was invented?"
"Oh he existed in a crude,primitive form in Waltons England"
"But this is where they painted spots on him and taught him to swim"

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Re: Holding trout by the gill covers

Post by BrownBear »

Wish I could claim it, but in fact those are the authentic words of a crusty old hatchery manager back in the early 70's. "BOY!!! You do that again and I'll kick your azz so far out in the parking lot your teeth will rattle when you hit the ground!" Been dying to use them myself for the nearly 50 years since! Does that mean I'm crusty now, too? :D

Here's an insight for folks about hatcheries "back in the day" and I assume still so today. For a couple of years I ran egg takes and incubation in a research hatchery in the West, then crewed on salmon egg takes after moving to Alaska. Kinda both sides of the same coin:

Trout hatcheries with brood stock regard them with the pride of treasured pets. They take great care and sustain them, and mortalities are painful, especially preventable morts from poor handling. You have enormous money tied up in feed and handling growing trout to breeding size, then sustaining them for several years of additional spawns. Inevitably some individual fish gain recognition approaching "pet" status.

Salmon are going to die anyway so they're sacrificed in egg takes. Handling gets pretty rough, but systematically so with an end in mind while still maintaining some measure of respect for the fish.

I've seen Big Name anglers abuse trout more than those salmon in the process of "release," all for the sake of advertising bucks and personal glory. The trout weren't clonked on the head like salmon and they were the worse for it, being abused and held out of the water for slow deaths rather than the quick dispatch of the salmon. They were in such tough shape by the time they got to taste water again there was no doubt of their fate. At least the salmon got the respect of a quick death.

Knowing how little poor handling it takes to fatally injure a trout out of the water, it shames me to watch fellow anglers chase glory pics. The great and notable fish that "merit" the handling may swim away, but their fate is pretty glum.

Here's another insight:

We also electroshocked large trout in rivers, tagging some and shocking them again every month or so for years while following the lives of individual fish. We also electroshocked salmon and steelhead, then held them for weeks prior to spawning them. They survived too, but the electroshocking and handling never rose to the level of abuse you can see almost any day by some "catch and release" anglers, especially when the cameras come out.

It's very much a case of "out of sight, out of mind." The trout swam away so clearly it survived, and it's time to move on to the next watershed that needs publicity.

Then you have to listen to the same guys lament the disappearance of big trout and the decline of famous waters. Give me a stinking break....

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Re: Holding trout by the gill covers

Post by GaryD »

The issues brought up in this thread are why I recently finally started using a net. I've found it's especially helpful for Brookies and other smaller trout that are often frantic and flop around on rocks that could injure them as well. I'm also wondering about barbless hooks vs hooks with the barb smashed down ? Some of my fishing buddies swear the bump created on a smashed hook helps keep a fish on compared to a smooth barbless hook. I do still use a barbed hook when on Rainbow water. Even with the rod tip lowered, their jumps and other antics seem to significantly lower the percentage for a barbless landing. Then again, maybe barbless on Rainbows is one more skill set to pursue.

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Re: Holding trout by the gill covers

Post by redietz »

GaryD wrote:Some of my fishing buddies swear the bump created on a smashed hook helps keep a fish on compared to a smooth barbless hook.
I don't know about keeping fish on, but it certainly helps keeps a piece of tippet tied to the bend in a New Zealand style rig in place.

I agree about the net.

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Re: Holding trout by the gill covers

Post by BillA »

You can immobilize a bonefish by turning it upside down - belly up. I believe it screws up their otoliths or something like that. Does this work with trout?

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