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Top 5 Trout Fishing Gear Essentials


Trout Gear 1: Nets and Creels
This net holds a rainbow trout captive, but not all nets are the same. Some nets can damage the fish if you're practicing catch-and-release fishing.
This net holds a rainbow trout captive, but not all nets are the same. Some nets can damage the fish if you're practicing catch-and-release fishing.
Steve Bly/Getty Images

When buying a trout net, you need to consider several factors: the distance across the hoop, or bow, of the net; the lengt­h of the handle; the depth of the net; and the material and mesh size of the net itself. The traditional trout fishing net was constructed of maple wood and came with an 8-inch (20-centimeter) handle and three-quarter-inch (1.9-centimeter) nylon mesh. Today, aluminum often replaces the wood, and a wider selection of features give anglers more choice. For example, an Ed Cumings aluminum model has a 10-inch (25-centimeter) handle and a 12-by-16-inch (30-by-41-centimeter) bow but still uses three-quarter-inch nylon mesh for the net.

Unfortunately, standard thin-mesh nets aren't good for catch-and-release fishing, which most anglers practice. Thin-mesh nets often compromise a trout's protective slime coat and can damage caudal fin rays. To alleviate these problems, several manufacturers now offer rubber trout nets. These products feature a one-piece seamless bag made of molded thermoplastic mesh that expands naturally to fit a fish's size and weight. They also have a flat bottom panel to support the entire length of the catch. This reduces the stress on the fish and, ultimately, the number of trout that die after being released.

For transporting the day's catch home, a creel is the time-honored solution. Many fishermen still prefer traditional split-willow creels, but more are choosing canvas creels, which take up less room and are easier to carry. And some anglers forgo the creel together, opting instead for stainless steel or plastic stringers.

Now go catch yourself some fish.