You've made a pin point accurate cast, a trout has taken the bait and now it's hooked.
But the game is not over just yet!
Landing that fish takes skill experience and care especially if you are practicing catch and release.
A quality landing net is crucial and netting a trout is usually the final heart in your mouth moment where things can go really well or really wrong...
Modern trout nets are all about being as gentle as possible on the fish but they still need to be able to do their basic job which is to safely net the fish and then allow you to unhook it.
So why even bother with a net?
A good landing net allows you to minimize stress and handling on the fish. It also allows you to keep the fish in the water during unhooking.
Old style knotted string nets were not very fish friendly. The mesh would scrape off the fishes slime that is their natural barrier against skin infections.
Not only that the knotted mesh was also damaging to the eyes and fins on smaller fish.
Modern nets use either a smoothly made mesh without knots or are made from a rubber mesh which is also knot-less.
Both types significantly reduce the chances of injury and removal of their protective barrier.
Your choice is then pretty much down to handle length.
Longer telescopic nets are great in a boat or on large rivers but can be quite cumbersome on smaller rivers and streams.
And conversely short nets are best suited to small rivers and streams and are not really suited for use in a boat.
Best Trout Net
The Freestone Outfitters net has the classic tear drop shape to it's beautiful two tone hardwood frame.
The full length of the net is 25 inches with the hoop measuring 16.75 long, 10.75 inches wide and 8 inches deep.
It uses modern low impact clear rubber mesh that is perfect for catch and release fishing.
There is a quick release magnetic lanyard that attaches to your clothing or tackle backpack via a sturdy carabiner.
To release it all you need to do is give it a good tug and the magnets will part giving you perfect control right when you need it.
This size net is more than sufficient for smaller trout and most species of fish under roughly 16 inches in length so best for working on small streams and rivers.
You have the option to buy it with or without the magnetic release.
Just like the Freestone net above the SF Fly fishing net follows the ever popular wooden handle and frame with a clear rubber net.
There is also a sturdy magnetic quick release system with carabiner for connecting securing to loops on your clothing or backpack.
You have the choice of three different head shapes: square, tear drop or round.
The frame is a rather striking combination of laminated bamboo and hardwood.
It measures 24 inches of total length, 9 inches wide and the hoop length is 19.6 inches long depending on the shape of the head that you order.
If you are in need of a telescopic net with a nice deep flat bottomed net basket then the Conservation series from Frabill is a great choice.
The handle can extend from 36 inches out to 72 inches at full extension. The hoop measures 23 x 26 inches and is 16 inches deep.
The flat bottom reduces the chance of fish jumping from the net and also allows them to lay flat on their sides when they are in it.
With a telescopic handle this net is good working off of high banks on a boat or when you are casting from the bank without waders and need a longer handle to get out to the fish before tehy get too shallow to net.
Unlike most of the other trout nets listed here it does not use a rubber mesh system, instead it used a knot-less mesh which is just a kind to small fish as rubber mesh.
The Fishpond Nomad Carbon fiber trout fishing net is a traditional shaped fishing net built with modern design and materials and is super light for it's size.
Weighing only .88 of a pound or 400 grams it is the perfect net for trout fishing if you are looking to do a lot of hiking out in the back country.
It has a fixed handle at 37 inches sits somewhere in the mid-range of lengths. Which gives you that little bit more reach right when you need it without being to cumbersome when stored vertically on a pack or across your back.
There is a choice of two colors: Tailwater or Drift Camo both are nicely muted and won't cause any kind of reflection or spook fish when up close.
The Nomad also floats which is a real bonus if you are a little bit clumsy with your gear and are prone to dropping it when wading.
It is however considerably mre expensive than any other rubber trout net in this list and is only really for the serious angler who is looking to save some serious weight when choosing a fishing net.
The Yoomoo Handmade fly fishing net for trout is one of the best looking nets that money can buy.
The rather striking teardrop shape is simply gorgeous and is functionally is actually quite clever as it allows you to scoop a fish towards you. It is available in a left and right hand model.
It also comes with a detachable lanyard for quick release usage. The Yoomoo is a great fly fishing net for catch and release of small trout, brook trout and other delicate species.
With quite a short handle it really only is intended for close up work and you'll either need to be wading or have a small drop off on the bank of the river that you are fishing to really get the best out of it.
Choosing a trout net really only boils down to a small number of criteria:
Types of Nets
When looking at the number of available trout fishing nets the choice is quite limited:
- Fixed handle
A fixed handle that is part of the hoop i.e all one piece is probably the most popular kind or trout fishing net.
A folding net whereby the hoop of the net folds back and down onto the handle making it smaller for transport are probably the next most popular choice.
Lastly is a telescopic net where the handle can be reduced or extended by moving the sections of the pole in and out of each other.
As mentioned earlier knotted mesh nets are not really used anymore due to their ability to damage fish.
Rubber netting or a knot-less mesh are the two top choices these days.
Rubber trout nets are super soft and have very little impact on the fish, it is however better suited to smaller nets.
Knot-less mesh really shines on larger nets especially those that are designed to have a flat bottom or are designed to be quite deep.
Wood, carbon fiber and metal are still the most used materials for the body and handle of a net.
A lot of smaller fly fishing nets are no made from beautifully burled wood that are quite striking.
You need to match the length of your net to were and how you will be landing your fish. Most fly fishing nets for example are quite short as you will usually be wading and scooping a fish is just a matter of leaning down at arms length.
Larger nets are a must if you are fishing from a boat or on a large river with high bank sides.
There is usually a lot of debate over the shape of the net hoop but to be honest as long as the size of fish you are fishing for can easily fit into the hoop of the net then the shape is rarely that important.