Sometimes fishermen just want to take some trout home for the table. When I keep a trout, I make sure to kill it as quickly and humanely as possible. There is no advantage to let it suffer.
Ways to kill a trout
Blow to the head
A short, sharp blow to a trout’s head is a good way to stun and kill it. This can be done with either a small club, a fish priest or even a nearby rock. I use this method whenever I forgotten my knife.
The trout do flap around for a while after getting whacked. This is probably nerves.
Knife between the eyes
One of the quickest ways to kill a trout is to simply stab them about half an inch above the eyes. The most common tool for this is a knife or a spike tool.
The aim is to pierce the trouts brain killing it instantly. I always give the knife a short wiggle to make sure the job is done.
I then proceed to remove the gills, and then gut the fish.
How to kill a trout without a knife or any tools.
On a couple of occasion, I have brought no tools with me to kill trout. If I am on the shore, then I could easily use a branch or rock. But out on the water, options are somewhat limited.
But there is still one rather brutal way to easily kill a trout. That is to put your fingers into its gills and rip them out.
This is a technique of last resort. It is actually possible to gut a fish with a pair of fishing scissors. .
Do I need to bleed trout?
The main reason people bleed fish is because they believe it improves the quality of the flesh. There is a chance that the blood will taint the flavour, and potentially even encourage bacteria growth.
The correct way yo bleed a fish is to cut the fishes jaguar vein while it is still alive. A sharp knife makes this a lot easier. Then bend the head back slightly. The beating heart then squirts blood out of the animal. If done correctly, the blood will be pushed out. This must be done while the fish is still alive.
Bleeding removes the blood, which can taint the flesh making it appear darker and taste stronger. There is also some belief that bleeding exceeds the storage life of the fish, because blood starts to decay faster than the surrounding flesh.
Other ways to prolong the shelf life of a trout is to quickly and cleanly remove the gut contents, and also the gills. Then store it in a cool, damp location.
I personally do not bleed trout, in my experience they do not have the same volume of blood as more powerful fighting fish. Quite a few anglers do bleed steelhead, salmon and even sea trout.
Some fishermen, rip the gills out instead. While there is some blood lost, It is not as effective at bleeding the fish as cutting the jaguar.
Keeping a trout alive.
Some anglers keep their trout alive while they fish. There are several ways to do that. The kindest way is probably in a live bait tank or storage cage.
Others keep trout on a stringer, they either thread a piece of cord through the jaw, or the gills then leave the trout hanging in the water.
I have never used this method, I prefer to kill my trout as quickly and cleanly as possible then store it somewhere cool. There is no need to prolongs the trout death.
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