Keep Fish Healthy During Heat

Sean Visintainer - 07/16/14

Healthy Spokane Redband Rainbow Trout. Photo by Michael Visintainer

What you can do to keep your fishery healthy

With this "heat-wave-from-hell" we are having this July it has got me thinking about proper fish handling to ensure a safe and healthy release.

Here are 4 things you can do when fighting and releasing trout during periods of warmer water temps...

  1. Fight fish quickly. Don't overplay the trout to extreme exhaustion. Bring the trout in quickly so it has more energy when it is released. Fish that have been fought for long periods of time have a low chance of survival when being revived in warm water that has lower oxygen content.
  2. Avoid lifting fish out of the water. Humans need air to breathe. Fish need water to breathe. Try holding your breathe for 30 seconds after you just run the 100 yd dash... not so easy huh? Same thing for fish.
  3. Release fish quickly. Try to be as efficient as possible when unhooking trout. Have your net handy and know where your forceps are so you are not fumbling around. Barbless hooks are quicker to remove typically, not to mention are required on the Spokane, Coeur d'Alene, and St. Joe Rivers.
  4. Allow trout to swim off under own power. After allowing the trout to revive head-first in oxygenated water, make sure the fish swims off under it's own power... upright.

If you follow these simple guide lines your trout should survive to fight another day. Happy fishing.

Spokane Redband Rainbow Trout. Photo by Michael Visintainer