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Getting Real About the Virtues of Catch-and-Release Fishing

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June 26, 2012

Getting Real About the Virtues of Catch-and-Release Fishing

By Kirk Deeter

It's interesting to me how a blog post that was really about human pain management  can evolve (and I use that term loosely) into a debate about the virtues (or lack thereof) of catch-and-release fly fishing. But what the heck, I'll bite on that fly, and you all can decide what you'll do with me later on.

The late, great Lee Wulff articulated the catch-and-release ethic best when he said: "A good game fish is too valuable to be caught only once." I certainly believe that. One of the main satisfactions I find in fly fishing is knowing that I can let a wily old brown trout or a wild steelhead swim free, with the legitimate hope (and it's only a hope) that someone else might enjoy that same fight down the line. I suppose that's why I like fly fishing more than hunting. But I do hunt. And I do catch fish with the sole intent of eating them. I don't think either approach is wrong, as long as the angler/hunter is playing by the rules.

Let's be honest. Fly fishing is a blood sport. Sticking a size #18 BWO in the mouth of a dainty brook trout is no different than planting the treble hooks of a steel lure into the jaws of a wild tuna. In fact, some would argue that the more "humane" act is to dispatch the fish and eventually eat it. The great writer Jim Harrison said something along the lines of "just because I beat the (bleep) out of you and didn't kill you doesn't make an angler a savior." And that's true also. In places like Switzerland, it's required to kill the fish you catch.

I've seen numerous studies that suggest that, even with the best catch-and-release practices, fish mortality happens — perhaps at a rate of 10 percent or more. So you tell me who is impacting the resource more profoundly: The angler who fishes once a week, catches a limit, and eats what's in the creel? Or the angler who sticks 30 fish a day, every day for a month, but lets them all go with the "clear" conscience of being a catch-and-release angler? How many fish are suffocated for photographs, put back in the water, only to die downstream? If you're going to kill a fish, you should own that act, shouldn't you?

In some cases, the best thing we can do for certain fish populations is to selectively harvest. I eat most of the brook trout I catch in the Rockies. They do taste good on crackers.

I have absolutely nothing against bowfishing for carp. Carp anglers wouldn't have it as good as they do if it weren't for bowfishers.

Do the old photos of tarpon hanging from hooks make me cringe? Yes they do. Does the thought of whacking wild steelhead get under my skin? Yes it does. Would I rather see my fishing partner let the 24-inch brown swim away and keep a couple 12-inchers for dinner? No doubt I would.

But in the end, I think we need to realize that a lot of the fish management situations happen with reason, and a lot of that is based on good science. If you're going to be a catch-and-release angler, do it right. And thank you very much for doing so. If you're a harvest angler, that's great, too. Abide by the rules and have fun.

You're not going to catch me arguing about the virtues of one approach over another. That's the stuff that makes the PETA people light up with glee.

I say that all anglers are in it together. We should stick together, no matter what. In the end, what really matters is having the habitat that makes fishing opportunities of all sorts possible in the first place.

 

Comments (32)

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from rdorman wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

i enjoyed that article, very good! i agree completely

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Deeter...Please tell us Trout Unlimited's position on Wild Trout, Steelhead, and salmon in freshwater rivers..What is their stance? That was my position once I qualified it..other fisheries?..panfish, carp, bass etc.?..depends on the fishery I guess. I have actually seen crappie, perch severely impacted by sports anglers...if you call them sports anglers. ON Potholes Reservoir in Eastern WA. near Moses Lake, WA. "sports" would fill up garbage containers full of perch, and crappie, then haul them to Seattle, and sell them to the Pike St. Market. That fishery was severely impacted over a few years of such activity. And if you travel to AK, and stay at one of those $6,000 a wk lodges in the Bristol Bay, Lake Illiamna area that has more big rainbows than any area in the continental United States, and you want to keep ONE big rainbow for mounting purposes expecting to keep just one since your cost will be around $8,000 for the week..YOU CAN'T !!! They won't let you keep ONE because of the impact on big rainbows if everyone did that who fished that area every Summer/Fall.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Sayfu, stick with your spirit-lifting, easy-to-catch trout and leave the other non-fly species to us knuckle dragers.....

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

koldkut...I do hope your reading comprehension is somewhat better than some. I think that is what I said no? You guys would have a little more credibility if you could step up to the plate, and voice an opinion of your own once in awhile, and not just offer a "nice post" response. And I do have a background as a many, many times knuckle dragers, as you call them. as a guide, and as a Lake Erie fiserman for just two examples.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Say, a hook's a hook, barbed, or barbless, you impale it into a fishes mouth, sometimes the fish bleeds. Sometimes those fish go on a stringer where they suffer for hours before suffocating and dying. I do change many spoon hooks to singles where it can be done without losing action. Jerkbaits need trebles for balance, as do some cranks. Trebles work great for powerbait, but single hooks hold corn better, but the best for corn is a bolt rig(dare I say I used one once, even if most folks don't know what it is). You always say the same thing, "I C&R trout cuz I'm l337 l337 LEET skeet like that, it's the only way to roll with tehFu".

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from wisc14 wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

sayfu: The major threats to wild trout are things like unresponsible mining and energy development and protection of public lands and roadless areas. on another post you actually aruged in favor of the pebble mine which could have a drastic impact on wild salmon.

people catching and keeping a few wild trout does not even make the list as a threat.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JustTakeMeHunting14 wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

I love fish. They taste good.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

The arguments of catch and release are as large and varied as the number of species of fish and the habitat they dwell. Each fishery and species reacts to catch and release differently. The term itself, "catch and release" is a blanket statement that rarely properly identifies proper fisheries management and in many places, C&R can be detrimental to fisheries. In other words, we should ditch the term C&R.

While the term C&R fits well with wild salmon, the term sounds pretty stupid to a Lake Erie walleye fisherman or a Pennsylvania trout fisherman. If you want to kill a billion dollar industry and destroy habitat funding for these areas, just declare Lake Erie and Pennsylvania C&R only.

Also:

Us fly fisherman must remember, we are a very small part of the total picture. Our contribution to global fisheries management through license sales, taxes and the fishing industry pales in comparison to other methods of fishing. While fly fisherman beat the loudest drum, we contribute very little funding to the over all picture. For this reason, states will continue to manage their fisheries based upon pleasing their source of income or making keep-n-eat fisherman happy. This is not a bad thing. Much of the funding from these keep-n-eat guys goes to managing the waters us fly fisherman hold dear. We (flyfisherman) should love them.

Blanket statements such as catch and release only divide fisherman. It would be more logical to address each individual species and habitat when speaking of fisheries management. The term C&R sounds a lot better when followed by the words "Idaho Wild Salmon". This would resolve much of the arguments which follow.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Anthony D Gardner wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Love the post. Requoted and repeated the info on my blog at sparetimefish.blogspot.com. Thanks a lot, Captain. This was a real eye-opener.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from rdorman wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

keeping fish can be good for the fishery as well...i especially like a slot limit...wish more were implemented where scientifically appropriate

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from nuclear_fisher wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

KD, good piece. Nice to hear from someone who appreciates moderation instead of c&r XOR c&k.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

koldkut...You appear more ignorant by the day. With age is supposed to come knowledge, real life experiences. Are you having any? Ever read how CIRCLE HOOKS work in salt water for releasing native salmon? Please don't tell those guys that are using them, "a hooks a hook." And that is just one example.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Where is Deeter's statement regarding TU's position on Wild Salmo's ? Small part, or not, C & R on wild trout, and other species that can be impacted by over fishing is a great example for fishers to establish. You feel good about releasing those fish, and doing your part as an angler. Most on here, are just justifying not doing so. And here is the biggest reason of all for many that do that you fellers won't acknowledge. Many successful fly anglers that want to do their part go to places where those that do not release their wild trout, or some other species, won't fish...because of the expense, and because of the regulation. It is why many folks spend money to eat in an expensive restaurant..they don't have to look at the grubby fellow that hasn't changed his skivvies in a week, or taken a bath in just about as long. They don't brag about it, I'm just being up front with folks that want to justify not releasing wild salmo's for one. Anyone know someone that clubs a big Musky when the catch it? Or pays a lot of money to fish a south sea bonefish flat, and catch permit, or bones, and want to take some home? And they are good eating fish.

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from Koldkut wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Sayfu, there's a generational gap between you and I, and I believe that my eyes are very open and yours are very closed. Knowledge that you gained when you were in your prime, say 35 years ago, doesn't necessarily stand up today. A hooks is a hook, but you and I both know there are thousands of hooks, designed for different applications all intended to perform the same job, to impale the point into a fishes mouth so that we can subdue the beasts and then have our way with them, handle them, release them, put them on a stringer or in a cooler if we so choose. So the barbless hook blog turned into a C&R debate, and the C&R blog turned into a conservation/generational gap debate...I guess you and I will never get along on here. Like Buckhunter has said, I would like to meet up and fish some day, then maybe you'd get off my back about not being any good at fly fishing, and maybe I'd learn an old-timer trick or two.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from sowens wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

I like the middle ground here. Some fisheries I will take a fish or two to eat. Our native trout streams here in PA. I strictly catch and release, they are just too precious and my children's children need to have the experience. We could argue till the keg is empty and still be nowhere, it must be an individual decision...so find someone who believes what you do and fish.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from rdorman wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

what about using a dehooking device...even in freshwater...cut back on the amount of time the fish is out of the water...the amount of time you touch the fish(should be zero)...any fish i release is not out of the water but 10 seconds at most, how does that stack up vs barbless hooks?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wisc14 wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

sayfu: please read the last sentence of deeter's post

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from Rusty Dutton wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

First off, i absolutely love the original post. Secondly, Like most of the other posters on this topic, I see both sides of the coin. I do keep a percentage of the fish that I catch for food, and I release the rest. I have always lived by the rule that if I'm not going to clean and eat a fish, then there is no point in killing it.
I am glad that people are so passionate about their stands on the issue, because people are willing to fight for their passions and I believe the more people willing to fight for our rights to fish, the better. However i do find it a shame that more common ground can't be found, and we realize that the enemy is not the sportsman you are debating with, but the legislation that tries to take away our rights to access our lands.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

wisc. 14. I did read Deeter's last sentence, and it says NOTHING about Trout Unlimited's policy regarding wild trout. The guy takes a postion with Trout Unlimited then doesn't have the backbone to even state what their policy is...they even provide bumper stickers to the effect! And as for Koldkut stating "there is a generation gap between him, and I"..NO, there is an EDUCATIONAL GAP! A hook is not just a hook. Those who expect to release wild trout know what kinda hooks to use. They are educated! And the numbers nationally as to the percentage of fish being released is exceptionally high..cudos to all the fishing shows that release fish. It is no longer cool to exhibit large stringers of dead fish. And I never finished the entire story of the rainbows the govt insists we kill on my river because they are impacting the "genetic integrity" of the cuthroat trout. And the govt threatens to shutdown the entire river to fishing if we do not kill the rainbows! They have placed a digital code in the head of a number of the rainbows after electro-shocking, and some have a $1,000 reward in them when you cut of the head, and turn it in..many with lesser amounts of financial reward...THEY STILL can't get fly anglers, many of them, to kill the rainbows! It has become a religion to many. I'm suprised so many on this thread haven't picked up on it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wisc14 wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

sayfu: the style of hook has nothing to do with the numbers of fish at the population level. studies have been done and it has not been proven that a barbless regulation will significantly increase the numbers of fish in a population. the weather is really what rules when talking about fish survival as well as habitat and (with trout and salmon) things like very clean, cold water

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

I'll do my part and hook and release wild trout, as Deeter's bible, Trout Unlimited says, but he won't admit. And I will chose the right fly hook to insure they swim off to be caught another day by another angler even knowing that once in awhile a fish bleeds, and can not be saved. You can choose to follow state regulations regarding fish limits...State Fish and Game depts. that have to sell lots of licenses to meet budgets. And I will also follow proper release methods, no longer allowing a trout to be brought inside my boat to have a picture taken. It will remain at water level. And the waters that I fish? They don't appeal to most of the fly anglers, or who say they are fly anglers, on this thread...and why I chose to fish those waters. I've read studies of fish survival, and the quality lakes I have fished. Some would have to replant certain lakes I fish every year if it were catch and kill, but have to do so only every 3 yrs. or more given they are listed as "quality fishing waters", and attract those that think like I think.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Todd Tanner wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Great post, Kirk. You nailed it. If there's anything to add, it's that whatever choice we make - keeping a fish, or releasing it - should be conscious and deliberate. Trout, salmon, steelhead, bass, carp, etc., have an intrinsic value of their own, independent of our human perceptions, and their life or death deserves our full and undivided attention.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from johnm98765 wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Sayfu, I think you're right that the waters you fish don't appeal to the rest of us, mainly because you're there.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

john...just tryin to help...primarily me, and the fish.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from johnm98765 wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

I know. I acually agree with you for the most part on this, but that was just too easy to pass up.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

john...I admire that quality in a man as the saying goes. I just read a summary Condi Rice was asked to make after all the criticism she received from the opposition in her position as Secretary of State. She was asked to make a statement regarding the American public. And she said something like learn to think, and speak for yourself, not just make a positive head shake for those that want to do your thinking for you. I like an exchange of ideas from folks that have a postive postion to make, whether it is this site, or any other learning atmosphere be it school, or any other situation. Way to many positive head shakers on this site.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from johnm98765 wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against keeping fish, but I think there should be some different standards for trout, salmon, and steelhead since they have enough other factors against them. If I spent time fishing walleye or perch I think it would be a lot more difficult to catch and release. I even kept some trout at one time, and originally stopped keeping any mainly because they don't freeze well. The fact that I am usually fishing for trout/steelhead or smallmouth and pike is what makes me primarily catch and release, though I get in 2 or 3 bluegill outings a year where I am catching and cleaning and frying. My choice though, and as long as it's withing reason, should be each person's choice too. The one thing I can't stand is people who act like there is something wrong with you for letting a fish go. If I don't hassle people about keeping a bunch of fish, why do they feel the need to hassle me for letting one go? Don't understand that one at all

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from tkbone wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

In addition to catch and release, I think slot limits are underutilized. They give those who want to keep a few eating-size fish for the table the opportunity to do so while leaving the breeding-size fish free to make more. Works well for stripers in NC and redfish throughout the Southeast.

Also, I get completely annoyed with forum posts from anglers who catch and release "50 fish" in a single outing. Whose ego needs that? Catch a few and then challenge yourself to learn a new technique or catch a big fish rather than probably killing more than your legal limit by handling and releasing.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Good posts made..the last two..both contain good points, and thought processes.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Erik Jensen wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Good post, but I think there is one point that didn't get mentioned that makes catch and release and/or strict slot limits (I actually like the latter the most)very important and they need to be rigorously defended where they're needed: they build up constituencies for protecting places where fish live. I like to kill and eat things, and while there is a certain ethical appeal to laws that exist in Switzerland where fish caught must be eaten, it's a bad idea in terms of the number of people being able to use a resource.

There are good trout streams in western WI, 45 minutes to an hour from the core of Minneapolis where I live, and if there weren't strict slot limits that sometimes mean catch and release fishing outings, there would be worse fishing experiences. Worse experiences mean fewer people fishing those streams. Fewer people fishing mean fewer people defending those streams from development. In the end the streams would probably be destroyed.

Catch and release vs. catch and kill isn't just about what's more ethical. It's also about which policy builds up a conservation constituency. Of course it doesn't have to be exclusive, and there are fisheries that can handle a lot of harvest. But in terms of what has been a huge conservation gain, catch and release is it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from bigz24bigbass wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I agree, there is a time for C & R and for keeping them. I love releasing a big one and like it said in the article, hoping I catch it again or someone else does. Its pretty cool to see a big one swim off after being revived.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Merkincrab wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

Good post, Kirk. I do the same: killing and eating little brookies is actually good for the habitat and great for the table. I'd rather buy farm raised trout and wild salmon most of the time than browns or bows, although mysis-fed trout taste amazing. I used to be a commercial fisherman in the Gulf of Mexico and I have killed and/or eaten more fish than most people. Sportfisherman need to practice conservation so that the resource survives. Catch and release is critical to maintain wild fish....the ultimate goal.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from buckhunter wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

The arguments of catch and release are as large and varied as the number of species of fish and the habitat they dwell. Each fishery and species reacts to catch and release differently. The term itself, "catch and release" is a blanket statement that rarely properly identifies proper fisheries management and in many places, C&R can be detrimental to fisheries. In other words, we should ditch the term C&R.

While the term C&R fits well with wild salmon, the term sounds pretty stupid to a Lake Erie walleye fisherman or a Pennsylvania trout fisherman. If you want to kill a billion dollar industry and destroy habitat funding for these areas, just declare Lake Erie and Pennsylvania C&R only.

Also:

Us fly fisherman must remember, we are a very small part of the total picture. Our contribution to global fisheries management through license sales, taxes and the fishing industry pales in comparison to other methods of fishing. While fly fisherman beat the loudest drum, we contribute very little funding to the over all picture. For this reason, states will continue to manage their fisheries based upon pleasing their source of income or making keep-n-eat fisherman happy. This is not a bad thing. Much of the funding from these keep-n-eat guys goes to managing the waters us fly fisherman hold dear. We (flyfisherman) should love them.

Blanket statements such as catch and release only divide fisherman. It would be more logical to address each individual species and habitat when speaking of fisheries management. The term C&R sounds a lot better when followed by the words "Idaho Wild Salmon". This would resolve much of the arguments which follow.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Todd Tanner wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Great post, Kirk. You nailed it. If there's anything to add, it's that whatever choice we make - keeping a fish, or releasing it - should be conscious and deliberate. Trout, salmon, steelhead, bass, carp, etc., have an intrinsic value of their own, independent of our human perceptions, and their life or death deserves our full and undivided attention.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Say, a hook's a hook, barbed, or barbless, you impale it into a fishes mouth, sometimes the fish bleeds. Sometimes those fish go on a stringer where they suffer for hours before suffocating and dying. I do change many spoon hooks to singles where it can be done without losing action. Jerkbaits need trebles for balance, as do some cranks. Trebles work great for powerbait, but single hooks hold corn better, but the best for corn is a bolt rig(dare I say I used one once, even if most folks don't know what it is). You always say the same thing, "I C&R trout cuz I'm l337 l337 LEET skeet like that, it's the only way to roll with tehFu".

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Sayfu, there's a generational gap between you and I, and I believe that my eyes are very open and yours are very closed. Knowledge that you gained when you were in your prime, say 35 years ago, doesn't necessarily stand up today. A hooks is a hook, but you and I both know there are thousands of hooks, designed for different applications all intended to perform the same job, to impale the point into a fishes mouth so that we can subdue the beasts and then have our way with them, handle them, release them, put them on a stringer or in a cooler if we so choose. So the barbless hook blog turned into a C&R debate, and the C&R blog turned into a conservation/generational gap debate...I guess you and I will never get along on here. Like Buckhunter has said, I would like to meet up and fish some day, then maybe you'd get off my back about not being any good at fly fishing, and maybe I'd learn an old-timer trick or two.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from johnm98765 wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Sayfu, I think you're right that the waters you fish don't appeal to the rest of us, mainly because you're there.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from rdorman wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

i enjoyed that article, very good! i agree completely

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from JustTakeMeHunting14 wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

I love fish. They taste good.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from sowens wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

I like the middle ground here. Some fisheries I will take a fish or two to eat. Our native trout streams here in PA. I strictly catch and release, they are just too precious and my children's children need to have the experience. We could argue till the keg is empty and still be nowhere, it must be an individual decision...so find someone who believes what you do and fish.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from johnm98765 wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against keeping fish, but I think there should be some different standards for trout, salmon, and steelhead since they have enough other factors against them. If I spent time fishing walleye or perch I think it would be a lot more difficult to catch and release. I even kept some trout at one time, and originally stopped keeping any mainly because they don't freeze well. The fact that I am usually fishing for trout/steelhead or smallmouth and pike is what makes me primarily catch and release, though I get in 2 or 3 bluegill outings a year where I am catching and cleaning and frying. My choice though, and as long as it's withing reason, should be each person's choice too. The one thing I can't stand is people who act like there is something wrong with you for letting a fish go. If I don't hassle people about keeping a bunch of fish, why do they feel the need to hassle me for letting one go? Don't understand that one at all

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Deeter...Please tell us Trout Unlimited's position on Wild Trout, Steelhead, and salmon in freshwater rivers..What is their stance? That was my position once I qualified it..other fisheries?..panfish, carp, bass etc.?..depends on the fishery I guess. I have actually seen crappie, perch severely impacted by sports anglers...if you call them sports anglers. ON Potholes Reservoir in Eastern WA. near Moses Lake, WA. "sports" would fill up garbage containers full of perch, and crappie, then haul them to Seattle, and sell them to the Pike St. Market. That fishery was severely impacted over a few years of such activity. And if you travel to AK, and stay at one of those $6,000 a wk lodges in the Bristol Bay, Lake Illiamna area that has more big rainbows than any area in the continental United States, and you want to keep ONE big rainbow for mounting purposes expecting to keep just one since your cost will be around $8,000 for the week..YOU CAN'T !!! They won't let you keep ONE because of the impact on big rainbows if everyone did that who fished that area every Summer/Fall.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Sayfu, stick with your spirit-lifting, easy-to-catch trout and leave the other non-fly species to us knuckle dragers.....

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from Sayfu wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

koldkut...I do hope your reading comprehension is somewhat better than some. I think that is what I said no? You guys would have a little more credibility if you could step up to the plate, and voice an opinion of your own once in awhile, and not just offer a "nice post" response. And I do have a background as a many, many times knuckle dragers, as you call them. as a guide, and as a Lake Erie fiserman for just two examples.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wisc14 wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

sayfu: The major threats to wild trout are things like unresponsible mining and energy development and protection of public lands and roadless areas. on another post you actually aruged in favor of the pebble mine which could have a drastic impact on wild salmon.

people catching and keeping a few wild trout does not even make the list as a threat.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Anthony D Gardner wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Love the post. Requoted and repeated the info on my blog at sparetimefish.blogspot.com. Thanks a lot, Captain. This was a real eye-opener.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from rdorman wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

keeping fish can be good for the fishery as well...i especially like a slot limit...wish more were implemented where scientifically appropriate

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from nuclear_fisher wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

KD, good piece. Nice to hear from someone who appreciates moderation instead of c&r XOR c&k.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Where is Deeter's statement regarding TU's position on Wild Salmo's ? Small part, or not, C & R on wild trout, and other species that can be impacted by over fishing is a great example for fishers to establish. You feel good about releasing those fish, and doing your part as an angler. Most on here, are just justifying not doing so. And here is the biggest reason of all for many that do that you fellers won't acknowledge. Many successful fly anglers that want to do their part go to places where those that do not release their wild trout, or some other species, won't fish...because of the expense, and because of the regulation. It is why many folks spend money to eat in an expensive restaurant..they don't have to look at the grubby fellow that hasn't changed his skivvies in a week, or taken a bath in just about as long. They don't brag about it, I'm just being up front with folks that want to justify not releasing wild salmo's for one. Anyone know someone that clubs a big Musky when the catch it? Or pays a lot of money to fish a south sea bonefish flat, and catch permit, or bones, and want to take some home? And they are good eating fish.

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from rdorman wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

what about using a dehooking device...even in freshwater...cut back on the amount of time the fish is out of the water...the amount of time you touch the fish(should be zero)...any fish i release is not out of the water but 10 seconds at most, how does that stack up vs barbless hooks?

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from wisc14 wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

sayfu: please read the last sentence of deeter's post

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from Rusty Dutton wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

First off, i absolutely love the original post. Secondly, Like most of the other posters on this topic, I see both sides of the coin. I do keep a percentage of the fish that I catch for food, and I release the rest. I have always lived by the rule that if I'm not going to clean and eat a fish, then there is no point in killing it.
I am glad that people are so passionate about their stands on the issue, because people are willing to fight for their passions and I believe the more people willing to fight for our rights to fish, the better. However i do find it a shame that more common ground can't be found, and we realize that the enemy is not the sportsman you are debating with, but the legislation that tries to take away our rights to access our lands.

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from Sayfu wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

wisc. 14. I did read Deeter's last sentence, and it says NOTHING about Trout Unlimited's policy regarding wild trout. The guy takes a postion with Trout Unlimited then doesn't have the backbone to even state what their policy is...they even provide bumper stickers to the effect! And as for Koldkut stating "there is a generation gap between him, and I"..NO, there is an EDUCATIONAL GAP! A hook is not just a hook. Those who expect to release wild trout know what kinda hooks to use. They are educated! And the numbers nationally as to the percentage of fish being released is exceptionally high..cudos to all the fishing shows that release fish. It is no longer cool to exhibit large stringers of dead fish. And I never finished the entire story of the rainbows the govt insists we kill on my river because they are impacting the "genetic integrity" of the cuthroat trout. And the govt threatens to shutdown the entire river to fishing if we do not kill the rainbows! They have placed a digital code in the head of a number of the rainbows after electro-shocking, and some have a $1,000 reward in them when you cut of the head, and turn it in..many with lesser amounts of financial reward...THEY STILL can't get fly anglers, many of them, to kill the rainbows! It has become a religion to many. I'm suprised so many on this thread haven't picked up on it.

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from wisc14 wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

sayfu: the style of hook has nothing to do with the numbers of fish at the population level. studies have been done and it has not been proven that a barbless regulation will significantly increase the numbers of fish in a population. the weather is really what rules when talking about fish survival as well as habitat and (with trout and salmon) things like very clean, cold water

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from Sayfu wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

I'll do my part and hook and release wild trout, as Deeter's bible, Trout Unlimited says, but he won't admit. And I will chose the right fly hook to insure they swim off to be caught another day by another angler even knowing that once in awhile a fish bleeds, and can not be saved. You can choose to follow state regulations regarding fish limits...State Fish and Game depts. that have to sell lots of licenses to meet budgets. And I will also follow proper release methods, no longer allowing a trout to be brought inside my boat to have a picture taken. It will remain at water level. And the waters that I fish? They don't appeal to most of the fly anglers, or who say they are fly anglers, on this thread...and why I chose to fish those waters. I've read studies of fish survival, and the quality lakes I have fished. Some would have to replant certain lakes I fish every year if it were catch and kill, but have to do so only every 3 yrs. or more given they are listed as "quality fishing waters", and attract those that think like I think.

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from Sayfu wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

john...just tryin to help...primarily me, and the fish.

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from johnm98765 wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

I know. I acually agree with you for the most part on this, but that was just too easy to pass up.

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from Sayfu wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

john...I admire that quality in a man as the saying goes. I just read a summary Condi Rice was asked to make after all the criticism she received from the opposition in her position as Secretary of State. She was asked to make a statement regarding the American public. And she said something like learn to think, and speak for yourself, not just make a positive head shake for those that want to do your thinking for you. I like an exchange of ideas from folks that have a postive postion to make, whether it is this site, or any other learning atmosphere be it school, or any other situation. Way to many positive head shakers on this site.

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from tkbone wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

In addition to catch and release, I think slot limits are underutilized. They give those who want to keep a few eating-size fish for the table the opportunity to do so while leaving the breeding-size fish free to make more. Works well for stripers in NC and redfish throughout the Southeast.

Also, I get completely annoyed with forum posts from anglers who catch and release "50 fish" in a single outing. Whose ego needs that? Catch a few and then challenge yourself to learn a new technique or catch a big fish rather than probably killing more than your legal limit by handling and releasing.

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from Sayfu wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Good posts made..the last two..both contain good points, and thought processes.

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from Erik Jensen wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Good post, but I think there is one point that didn't get mentioned that makes catch and release and/or strict slot limits (I actually like the latter the most)very important and they need to be rigorously defended where they're needed: they build up constituencies for protecting places where fish live. I like to kill and eat things, and while there is a certain ethical appeal to laws that exist in Switzerland where fish caught must be eaten, it's a bad idea in terms of the number of people being able to use a resource.

There are good trout streams in western WI, 45 minutes to an hour from the core of Minneapolis where I live, and if there weren't strict slot limits that sometimes mean catch and release fishing outings, there would be worse fishing experiences. Worse experiences mean fewer people fishing those streams. Fewer people fishing mean fewer people defending those streams from development. In the end the streams would probably be destroyed.

Catch and release vs. catch and kill isn't just about what's more ethical. It's also about which policy builds up a conservation constituency. Of course it doesn't have to be exclusive, and there are fisheries that can handle a lot of harvest. But in terms of what has been a huge conservation gain, catch and release is it.

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from bigz24bigbass wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I agree, there is a time for C & R and for keeping them. I love releasing a big one and like it said in the article, hoping I catch it again or someone else does. Its pretty cool to see a big one swim off after being revived.

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from Merkincrab wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

Good post, Kirk. I do the same: killing and eating little brookies is actually good for the habitat and great for the table. I'd rather buy farm raised trout and wild salmon most of the time than browns or bows, although mysis-fed trout taste amazing. I used to be a commercial fisherman in the Gulf of Mexico and I have killed and/or eaten more fish than most people. Sportfisherman need to practice conservation so that the resource survives. Catch and release is critical to maintain wild fish....the ultimate goal.

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from Sayfu wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

koldkut...You appear more ignorant by the day. With age is supposed to come knowledge, real life experiences. Are you having any? Ever read how CIRCLE HOOKS work in salt water for releasing native salmon? Please don't tell those guys that are using them, "a hooks a hook." And that is just one example.

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