Releasing a Good Size Trout
I like touching trout – big ones, well, not extraordinarilly huge ones, which make me nervous, but mostly I like really enjoy feeling the the girth of a healthy trout and the way big ones lay in your hands recovering, waiting until they choose to return to the current on their own. I try to hold them as they while they are in this disoriented state out into the clear cold part of the current, gently but firmly holding them upright and letting the water flow through their mouths and out their gills naturally. I don’t shake them back and forth. If they can stay upright with me just steadying them on their sides, like a vertical support on either side, then that’s how I hold them (the big ones).
The water flowing naturally through their mouths and gills and the upright orientation triggers their internal air bladder to adjust to a static equilibrium with the surrounding water pressure against their body. That is what is happening while they are recuperating. The trout has been fighting both yon ad the current and then you pulled it unnaturally out of the water, so it no longer had that external pressure keeping it buoyant and then it got flipped over and handled in weird ways that made the internal air bladder disgorged itself.
Haven’t you ever heard a trout croak? That’s not a vocal cord - it’s the air being expelled from the air bladder. That sound is distinct underwater to other trout. It’s a sound that represents distress, like, “Who is croaking? Is that Herman? Whassup w Herman?” That’s why all the brookies in the creek will flee like started mice when you hook onto one. – it croaked. The , all the other brookies know, “There’s sumfin afoot and it ain’t good (for brookies)”. That sound really travels well underwater: “C-R-O-A-K!” In trout language that sound means, “AGH!! HELP!!”