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Catch and Release protocols keep our trout safe and our members happy

At Millan Waters, we have drawn up a list of guidelines to remind members that there are certain protocols that should be followed while at the trout fishery to ensure the continued practice of Catch and Release.

Please remember that trout are not typically the hardiest fish. Keep this in mind when fishing in our lake.

To find out more about these Catch and Release protocols, or to ask us any questions, call us on 07586 808787, or visit our contact page to send us a message.

Handling fish

Wet your hands and net prior to touching any fish. By touching fish out of the water and with a dry hand you are removing the protective slime from the surface of the fish.

Leader breaking strains

Catch and release is not for light line enthusiasts. The faster you land the fish the better its chances for survival. Use appropriate breaking strain line and fight your fish quickly to prevent over exhaustion.

Handling Fish
Releasing Fish

Releasing fish

Keep the trout in the water as much as possible. Chances are if a trout has been out of the water for more than a minute it will likely end up dead. It might swim off fine but it's likelihood of living is slim. Use your fingers, forceps or a catch and release (disgorger) tool to free the hook and watch the fish swim away. Do not use the tip ring of your rod to dislodge the hook or you risk breaking the rod.

If you are struggling to remove a fly from a trout, clip your line and release the fish as it will get rid of the fly.

If possible, release trout by stepping down to the side of the fishing platform and release your trout in the water’s edge. (Periodical strimming/cutting back of vegetation at the sides of platforms will take place and should assist this.)

Use barbless and/or debarred hooks whenever possible. They are much kinder to trout and allow them to be released quickly with the minimum of trauma and stress .

Landing nets

Use knotless and if possible rubber landing nets AT ALL TIMES. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES DRAG A TROUT ASHORE.

Large trout are less resilient than small trout, be extra careful with them.

Photographing that special fish

If you want to take a picture of the trout then carefully lift it from the water for just seconds at a time and never more than a couple of feet from the water's edge. Hold it with one hand around the tail wrist and the other supporting the trout behind the gill area . Always wet your hands before handling the trout and always useful to have another member on hand to actually take the picture!


Please remember all our stocked Trout can be  caught and released at each members option BUT subject to our Rules/Allowances. CATCH AND RELEASE is not permitted during July and August annually . 

Dispatching fish

Obviously, this final point does not relate to Catch and Release but The Stillwater Trout Fisheries Association gives guidelines for despatching your catch which are worth detailing.

If you are killing a trout then again keep it in the net and it's much easier to grip it through the net mesh. Turn the fish so that it is upright and then whack it hard on top of the head and a little behind the eyes with a decent weighty priest. Do it quickly and use the priest like you are knocking in a four inch nail.