Keep fish wet for photographs

Scott Spooner
On the Fly
Scott Spooner

There’s a movement afoot in the fly fishing world — and it’s a terrific one. Whether you fish or not, you’re familiar with the classic photo of a fisherman (or woman) and their catch, holding the fish proudly out of the water, smiling for the camera. We all have those pictures hanging on our walls (including social media walls), myself included. The problem with these shots is that more often than not these proudly held fish get dropped on the bank or the bottom of the boat either before, during or after the picture is taken. This isn’t doing the fish any favors.

“Keep ’em wet” photographs are the way of the future for fly fishing. There is far too much overhandling of fish these days, keeping fish out of water for endless photographs. The hope is that some day in the future, as many people practicing catch and release will be practicing “keep ’em wet.” Just think of the profound positive impact on all trout fisheries if most people never even took their catch out of the water. Despite popular belief, trout can’t breathe out of the water. Some of the best guides here in the valley catch and release hundreds of trout over their seasons and rarely touch a single one. Soft nets and release tools make this a snap.

You will hopefully notice Taylor Creek is only posting “keep ’em wet” photographs of trout on all social media and print media now. Changing so many hearts and minds is going to take a while, but it has to start somewhere. The next time you are perusing your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram feeds, take a moment to notice the difference a wet fish makes for a quality photograph versus a dry one out of the water. Trout simply look better in their own environment versus being held out to the camera. You’ll also notice the river bottom and swirling water make for a perfect backdrop for your trophy fish.

“Keep ’em wet” shots are especially effective if you are fishing solo. Photographing the release is quickly becoming a classic, as well as macro shots of the individual beauty all trout possess. These are easy to take when you are by yourself. We hope you join us in taking a stand against the overhandling of fish here in the valley and beyond. We are confident that all trout fisheries will benefit from this new movement; just think of the positive impact it could have. Keep ’em wet.

This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or