PHOTOGRAPH FISH SELECTIVELY, QUICKLY & CREATIVELY
- So you do a good job landing the fish quickly, keep it off the rocks, use a landing net. Then you ruin it all by holding the fish out of the water for 2 minutes as you attempt to get the grossly over-done photo commonly known as the grip and grin. This is rough on two levels. One, every second you keep the fish out of the water decreases it’s chance to survive and two, you look like every other guy holding a fish. Below are some creative photos I’ve found online that are good for the fish and look better than a grip and grin anyway.
Another note to share is you don’t need to photograph every trout you catch. They are all gorgeous so selectively pick a couple each day and grab some creative shots and you’re photo album will look much better than 1000 grip and grins.
The best way to get a photo safely of a fish is to leave it in the net and the net in the water so the fish is just chilling in there with the hook removed. Get your camera ready or your mobile on the timer and set everything up. Once you are ready to hit the shutter button, quickly and gently lift the fish to your desired shot and take pics quickly. Photos look awesome when the water is dripping off the fish vs drying in the sun anyway. This is better for the trout and better for your album. Be quick and gentle and if possible always keep the head and gills underwater or slightly out and only for a moment.
- Releasing the Fish Safely
Once you have unhooked the fish safely, it’s time to revive the trout and safely release it. It’s best to revive the fish facing upstream not possible in Stillwater fisheries lol in slow to medium current and in clear water. If you murked up the water walking around, move over a little so the fish can get some clean water. If the fish is small enough to relax with the net guarding him this is another great way to release the fish without even touching it. Just use the net as a guard to keep it from leaving until it is keeping with the current and facing upward (not belly up) This can take 30 seconds to 5 minutes depending on water temps and how long you played and handled the fish. When the fish tries to swim away, you should let it. A good test if you are worried is to take the fish gently by the tail in the net and turn it on its side. if the fish can turn itself back up and swim, then it is likely ready for release.
Error on the side of longer than shorter here. This is the time to enjoy looking at the trout and letting it recover, but when it swims off, let it swim off. The smaller ones will bolt while the larger fish swim off more slowly.
That moment when you let go and see the trout swim off slowly is the most rewarding part of fly fishing and makes me want to catch another all over again. You can feel good that the fish has been released safely and will live to be caught another day by another fly fisher or even yourself again.