Situation occurred yesterday that has inspired me to post a reminder about big fish handling.
This Article is the best one i have found. The third from last paragrah is one of the most important.
It does not address Ice so here are some things to remember.
Getting it out of the Ice:
Once you get the fishes head to break water. with one hand grab the line but be ready to let go if the fish starts to dunk back down the hole are gives a head shake (especially when on thinner ice). Take your other hand and try to first go for a lower jaw grab. sometimes, the mouth wont open,if this is the case use the tips of your fingers to grab the very out side of the gill plate and gently slide it up onto the ice. Do not let your fingers up into the gill area just pull gently by the very edge of the gill plate. when you touch the gill plate just grab the very edge of the plate with the tips of your fingers like you would pull back a bow string and slide it onto the ice.
The Hero shot:
Once its laying on the ice, Grab the fish firmly by the tail wrist, slide the other hand under the belly and pick it up for a picture. Be very carefull at this point to not let your fingers or hand slide up into the gills. One or two pics is enough! The process shouldn't have to last longer than 10 seconds. Never stand up with a big fish while on the ice. always stay knelt down
and keep the fish close to the ice encase if you drop it.
Releasing the fish:
Lay the fish back down on the ice, Get another firm grip of the tail wrist and slide the head into the hole gently work the fish back and forth to get water/oxygen flowing through its gills. Do not let go of the tail until the fish tries to kick away on his own.
Thanks for reading and please release all lake trout over 20 inches, and be over cautious about how you handle the big fish.