photographing fish

Holding trout for photos

Cradle the trout just behind the head and hold the wrist of the tail firmly. Keep the trout in the water, lifting it out very briefly to just above the water to take the shot. Always support larger trout with two hands.

Holding a live trout for a photo can be tricky (especially if it is a big trout) and it is tempting to squeeze the fish to get a good grip. However, you could be inadvertently killing a fish that you are planning to release, because the place where most people will hold and squeeze a fish – just behind the head – is where the heart and liver are located. A fish subjected to squeezing of the heart may swim away but die soon after.

This article by Tony Bishop of Bish and Fish New Zealand gives a very good description of the problem and describes how to hold a fish for that triumphant photo!

For large fish, it is also important to support the fish so that the back isn’t sagging. Supporting the fish at the vent and the pectoral fins is the best way to achieve this. Those points generally do not indent and put pressure on the internal organs because of the skeletal and musculature structure.

How long should it be out of the water? Ideally less than 10 seconds, certainly not minutes – if water stops dripping off the fish, it’s too long. If you need another shot, put it back into the net in the water to recover for a minute or two and try again.

With acknowledgement to the Wild Trout Trust, copyright.