Although abrasive Beterthenjoewalleye is correct. Steelhead have more gills then most fish and they are closer together. So when you pick them up by the gill plate it is more likely that you will grab them. I was too guilty of this in my early steelhead days. A good way to unhook a fish is to turn it upside down while in the water. It seems to really calm them down. If you bank them you are just asking for trouble and will also hurt the fish. Just grab the line and turn the fish over. Then unhook. Leave it in the water. And a response to the guys who catch them in the lake. You are under a completely different scenario then river fisherman the presentation has not comparison. They bleed likely because extra hooks on your crank or trailer hook for your harness grabs them. Or they swallow the crank/harness when striking. Then they get picked up by the gill and hooked like a walleye. Or injure themselves when flopping around the boat. Netting a fish overall is not good for the fish. Especially for a powerful fish like a steelhead or muskie. There fins will split and bleed profusely. A walleye is a weakling in the fighting world. Nets also remove slime. You can take more procautions while fishing a river and releasing a fish then on a boat. Take them, its not hard. If you want a picture, unhook the fish and hold it under its belly and head. DO NOT reach inside the gills. And keep it halfway in the water. Also, for those of you who like to use hardware. Try using single hooks. You WILL get more solid hooksets. You WILL be less likley to lose the fish. You WILL snag less of anything. And WILL do less damage to the fish. Sorry kevin to disagree with you, but that is my experience. And you know how not so often Joe and I steelhead fish. Believe me, I really had to tone this post down. You know how I can fire back at everyone, and make this post another 90 post bash off, which it will anyway. And those who bash the TSS. I have learned more from TSS about steelhead fishing then from this site. Thats not a bash towards OGF, but the members who post on it. There are only a handful of people here who i believe give good info. The narrow mindness pushes the higly successful anglers out because they get bashed for trying to teach others. I wont mention any names. Some are always nice. Some are just plane ornary. There approach is another issue. NO MORE POSTS FROM ME. I am out!