Harvesting: proper way to euthanize your catch

patrick62

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I keep some stocked trout every year, mostly from a put and take stream nearby. I give them to people. I don't much care for fish hahaha.

I keep a hanky handy, stick my finger in it, then break the trout's neck. Clean on the spot, put in ziplock with water and/or Arctic Creel. I always do this at the end of the fishing day so I'm not lugging dead fish and/or water around.

Twenty-some years ago I was way the hell up in the mountains of northeast New Mexico, catching cutthroat like nobody's business and keeping an eye out for snakes and bears. I did make a streamside fire and cook a couple of cutts on a stick. It was pretty good and made me feel like Grizzly Adams, but I haven't done it since
 

hatidua

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Back when I kept/ate fish I'd skewer it's brain as soon as it came out of the water with a thin sharp implement, the actual device used depended on whether it was a 10" trout or a 130# YFT but both would cease movement the moment a sharp steel thing started scrambling it's brain.

The Japanese have really perfected this with how they kill BFT that are intended to bring the highest yen at market, here's a very brief description: Ikejime - Wikipedia
 

trev

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In the mid '70s I was keeping a limit of stocked trout 3 or 4 times a week and read a magazine article that suggested tearing out the throat latch and breaking the neck immediately with thumb and fingers then ripping out the gills (which seems to bleed a trout fairly well) followed by wrapping in wet newspaper or wet grass/moss and carrying in the creel, to be gutted,skinned or filleted later. Suggested not as a humane way to kill, but as away to improve the taste of trout and reduce spoilage, but it does kill instantly when the neck breaks to the point of dislocation. I did this, the quality of the fish improved greatly. Wet newspaper or grass or the wet canvas creel all cool by evaporation and 6-8 hours later the trout would still feel stream water cold to touch, Keeping trout on a live stringer generally ends in inferior taste, but if that is all one knows they will be likely to say "I don't like the taste of trout" and turn them loose, so I don't always enlighten people. This can be done in seconds while standing belt deep in water, or while bank fishing.
It's true that line caught fish are stressed by the fight alone (probably much more so by the physical touch of hand or net), but asphyxiation changes the taste and the rate of deterioration of trout. Any meat or fish will be better tasting if bled out. Tearing out the gills and cutting the tail are ways to bleed a fish. Soaking a fish in water has never improved the quality of the fish meat in my experience and may have lessened it.
 

mspaci01

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This probably won't be a popular reply with this group, but I normally just clip them onto a stringer and either attach it to my belt, if I'm wading, or tie it to a branch along the bank. If I'm keeping fish, I normally don't start keeping them until later in the day when I can get them cleaned and in a cooler and on ice for the trip home.

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this is what I do
 

JoJer

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Actually, I use an ice chest with ice and water mixed making a nice slush. The fish will die quickly and painlessly. This also makes the fish die in a straight line position and makes the meat nice and firm. When you get ready to fillet it, it will make the task so much easier. I do this with all of my saltwater fish and freshwater pan fish, along with catfish.

Fish are cold blooded creatures. When their body temps get to a certain low point they just become lethargic like they would in a natural cold environment. Then their system just shuts down.
As a pretty new angler, I got to go ice fishing with a friend. We hit a perch bonanza and threw them on the ice as we caught them. 9 hours later, I dumped the fish in the sink to start cleaning and they all started swimming again. Not so the trout.

I used to catch lots of whitefish that I'd keep for the smoker. I did as stated above- On the stringer, hung from my belt 'til it's time to go.
 
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