AVOID OVERPLAYING THE FISH
Fish should be brought to the net as quickly as reasonably possible so they have enough strength left to survive.
WET YOUR HANDS BEFORE HANDLING THE FISH
All fish have a coating of protective slime, which will adhere to dry hands. Removal of this slime leaves the fish succeptable to fatal infections.
HANDLE FISH CAREFULLY AND GENTLY, AND AVOID TOUCHING THE GILLS
Often you will see TV fishermen handling fish by the gills. As professionals they should know that many of those fish will needlessly die.
PINCH DOWN YOUR BARBS
Barbless hooks will never cause you to lose a fish, and they are easiest to remove. If a trout takes a hook deeply, as is common when fishing with bait, do NOT attempt to remove the hook; cut the line and the hook will eventually rust away with no harm to the fish. Never use gold plated or stainless steel hooks, as they will not rust away and can eventually kill the fish.
REVIVE THE FISH
Gently hold the fish facing into a moderate current, so that water passes through the gills. When sufficiently revived the trout will be able to swim off on its own.
This is just a regular brook trout. The white marks are fingerprints where some uninformed angler handled this fish without first wetting their hands. The protective coating of slime on the trout stuck to the angler's fingers, which in turn left the trout susceptible to a fungus infection. This trout is dying and bears the mark of its unintentional killer.
Photo by Bob Jackson. All rights reserved.
Please handle your fish properly, with wet hands, and NEVER put your fingers anywhere in the fish's gills. Even though all the TV Pros do it, it also kills fish. How would you like somebody's hands stuck into your lungs?