Tips For Handling-Releasing And Photographing Trout

We all want that shot of our New Zealand trophy trout right ? But the welfare of the fish should always be the first thing on our minds once we have hooked, played and netted it.

Here are a few tips for handling trout, getting a quick photo then carefully releasing them. The shorter the time they are a out of the water the better !

  • Always carefully remove the hook from the trouts mouth whilst it's in the net, place the net on a softer surface ie not a stony -rocky area. Look for a sandy or gravelly spot where possible to lay the fish down.
  • Make sure your hands are wet before attempting to pick them out of your net.
  • Try and handle the trout with a soft Lycra glove or panty hose, i always have a panty hose sock in my vest for this very thing.
  • Hold the fish by the tail horizontally and not vertically as to not add any more distress to the fish.
  • Always support the fish's underbelly with your other  hand , avoid squeezing it at ALL costs ! Avoid getting your fingers into it's gills , keep your fingers behind its pectoral fins and gill plates at all times.
  • Hold the fish by it's tail end with your dominant hand in a firm yet gentle grip.
  • But most importantly try and minimise the time the fish is out of the water. Get a couple of photos and then place the fish back into the water cradling it out the main flow until it is able to swim away under it's own steam watch it till your satisfied its ok and not about to go belly up as many tend do.

Gently cradling the fish in the water is a good idea when taking the photo .


Using a larger soft mesh or rubber net helps prevent fin/gill damage as the fish isn't jammed in as you net it and also protects the skin of fish once netted. I use a McLean Large short handled net that are super quality and made right here in New Zealand. It easily attaches to my Simms fly fishing vest or to the top strap of my Simms fly fishing pack.

Feel free to contact me if your looking for any guided fly fishing days , I still have some dates available in late April. And now taking bookings for the 2018/19 season.



Mclean net large soft mesh.jpg