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Thread: Length vs Weight

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Kingston, TN
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    260

    Default Length vs Weight

    At what point is it typical to quit describing the size of a trout in terms of inches and start talking about pounds? Also, allowing for variances due to how well fed a particular trout might be, how much would, let's say, a typical 20" trout weigh? Conversely, if while reading a magazine article or some such and see where the writer landed a 4lb trout, how long in inches would you expect that fish to be? Obviously, since my current personal best trout is around 13", I'm not in any imminent need of knowing this information, but it might come in handy some day (at least I hope so). SC
    Fly fishing - it's cheaper than a bass boat!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
    339

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    While this is an interesting question to ponder, there can be so many variables that it would make it very hard to say what every 20" trout would weigh. The only accurate way is to use a calibrated scale. Now for a very close estimate on weight, find the length and girth formula for that particular species and plug in the values. As long as you are able to take accurate measurements, it will be fairly close to the scale weight of the fish but obviously not exact. I always want to see how long my fish are so I just tape them and could really care less about how much they weigh. I always recommend to carry a tailor's tape or some mini zinger option as a sure fire way to see if that trout is really 20"... Also, that way you can always measure and calculate the approximate weight on every fish you catch, if you so desire...

    Just to give you an idea on size vs. weight, I caught a fat winter brown a couple seasons ago and that fish was 23.5" and taking the measurements, it calculated at close to 4.5lbs. If you are truly interested, it seems to me that the appropriate weight to "make the switch" is somewhere around 7-10lbs and up. The only fish in the past couple years that I have been interested in its weight, was my first steelie which I caught back in the fall. He weighed in at 11.99lbs on the scale... Now, earlier this year some lucky bait slinger landed a 24lb. brown on the Caney Fork and I didn't care to remember what the length was. So... I guess you have my answer on when I would consider looking at weight vs. length. In other words, when the fish get really big....


    Tight Lines,

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Crossville, TN
    Posts
    2,397

    Default

    Some people measure fish in inches or pounds depending on the species. I've heard people refer to bass in pounds and trout in inches while others stick with pounds for all fish. I'm always interested to hear opinions on this subject. And as tnflyfisher pointed out, it is essential to get both length and girth measurements to accurately estimate a fishes weight.

    Good example for this is that most fish in the 28-30" range in east Tennessee will probably weigh 7-10 pounds and perhaps up to 15. However, a fish out here in Colorado was recently caught on the Frying Pan that was around 29" and had a girth of 24"+. The estimated weight was between 21-23 pounds!

    I've caught some really thin trout over the years and also some that were pretty healthy with a lot of weight. Time of year makes a big difference also. Trout will eat heavily just before the spawn in preparation for the hard work ahead. After the spawn is over they are normally significantly skinnier and eat a lot again to make up for the time away from eating...

    Personally I almost always refer to trout in inches, probably because I don't normally take the time to measure a trout's girth to get an accurate estimate on weight.

    Good topic and I'm interested in seeing others' opinions.
    "Then He said to them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.'" Matthew 4:19

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Mid Tennessee
    Posts
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    I just go by length. It is just so much easier and no extra equipment is needed. Just get familiar with where certain features are on the fly rod such as the hook keeper or some decorative wrap and know the length from rod butt to that point. I have a white dot at twenty inches on my graphite rods. Just lay the fish next to the rod.
    "Here fishy fishy."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Kingston, TN
    Posts
    260

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    Quote Originally Posted by silvercreek View Post
    I just go by length. It is just so much easier and no extra equipment is needed. Just get familiar with where certain features are on the fly rod such as the hook keeper or some decorative wrap and know the length from rod butt to that point. I have a white dot at twenty inches on my graphite rods. Just lay the fish next to the rod.
    I've always gone by length as well, and just use various body parts as my measuring stick. (No, not that . Get your mind out of the gutter .)

    Conveniently enough, the palm of my hand is 3.5" wide, 4+" with the thumb folded down; base of the palm to tip of my middle finger is 7"; with fingers fully spread it is 9" from the tip of my thumb to the tip of my little finger; and from the tip of my middle finger to the crook of my elbow is 16" with convenient 1" increments at the finger joints.

    The reason I was curious is that in some of the books and magazines I've been reading lately the writers generally described their catch in terms of pounds (usually somewhere between 4 - 15 lbs) and I really had no feel for how big those fish were likely to be. Interestingly, most of the articles are talking about fishing in places other than the southeast. New England, Alaska, Argentina, the Rockies & Sierra Nevadas, etc. Of course, I guess if you're a writer, stories about 8" trout probably don't sell all that well, so I guess it makes some sense. Anyway, I was looking for a way to translate as a frame of reference, and you guys have been very helpful. Thanks.
    Fly fishing - it's cheaper than a bass boat!

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