Brook trout playing dead?

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kbf64

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Since I've been back in VA fishing in SNP, I've seen several small brook trout rolling over and playing dead after I pull them in. ...they are not otherwise injured. Could they be low on oxygen even in a short fight, in cold water?

Has anyone else seen fish do this? After removing the hook they swim off as normal. They flip over before even taking them out of the water... I thought maybe they were playing dead to avoid a threat from a bigger animal (me).
 
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Silent Ocelot

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I have never encountered or have seen this. To my knowledge a fish will fight, even if it kills itself, to avoid capture as that will most certainly guarantee death (at least in the fish's mind). A fish playing dead doesn't make since to me as any scenario where it would play dead due to a predator the predator would still kill and consume it.

I've seen instances of fish that were released and swam away, only to turn belly-up moments later as a result of over-playing the fish and prolonged out-of-water exposure due to extended release that could be either for photos or hook retrieval or a combination of the two. And yes, even I, the great "Mr. Keep Em' Wet", have killed a few fish due to prolonged release. Hook retrieval and increased (70 degree plus water) was the culprit in those circumstances. Fishing for trout in warmer water is the number one reason for fish death so I am confused how cold water, even in these temps, could result in harm coming to the them.

@kbf64, you have me baffled.
 
pcray1231

pcray1231

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In very cold water I've seen lethargic fish not fight much, and kind of lay on their side and just let you pull them in. I woulda never described it as "playing dead", but could that be what he means?
 
wildtrout2

wildtrout2

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Regardless of water temp, trout have to eat. I think the cold of winter is tough on trout generally, without me forcing them to fight.
 
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kbf64

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In very cold water I've seen lethargic fish not fight much, and kind of lay on their side and just let you pull them in. I woulda never described it as "playing dead", but could that be what he means?
This actually makes a lot of sense, as I've been fishing 40 degrees and below (air temps)...
 
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troutbert

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This actually makes a lot of sense, as I've been fishing 40 degrees and below (air temps)...
Check the water temps. At this time of year, they are probably in the low to mid-30s.

Brook trout are very active when the water temperatures are around the mid-50s.
 
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