Years ago when I lived in Northern BC (east side of the Rocky Mountains)...my small group were `ground-breaking`in that area as fly fishers. Not only fly fishers...but fly fishing for all species in that area including walleye, perch, pike and burbot. Add to that, we frequently float tubed for these 4 non-fly-typical species.
WE had it that you GOT credit for a walleye and perch IF you got it into your `desk` on the float tube. You did NOT get credit if you had to touch a pike or burbot..but you had to unhook at tube-side (no long line releases)
Usually in the net or in hand but sometimes I don't take them out of the water at all and twist the hook out so they don't technically get in hand. So a caught fish for me is one in the net or hand or that I remove the hook from.
For me I am 100% catch and release so as long as I get the fish to my feet I count it. A lot of times since I am not keeping them I don't worry to much about keeping tension etc etc, because quite frankly I hope they get off without me needing to handle them or net them.
As long as I don't lose them off the fly while reeling them in, it counts. Once I get my fly line in and all thats left is grabbing and releasing the fish it counts for me.
Close counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and now C&R fly fishing
Location: White City (tad north of Medford) Oar-E-Gone
Re: What do you consider a "caught" fish?
Two, now just one, old dogs giving the fish a sniff. Husky (now passed) and Sandy never allowed me to keep a fish. There was no way the look from those two that would allow 'A keeper.' Native or Hatchery, fish went back.
Well almost ... chuck a tennis ball for the Lab or chasing a released fish. Other would 'wade' into 6" deep slow water. Had to warn folks that Husker's would wade out behind you and shove himself between your legs. First time he did that to me I damned near took a swim!
Once I get my fly line in and all that's left is grabbing and releasing the fish it counts for me.
Pretty much my sentiment. Has to only apply to C&R, as you have to get a fish in hand if you intend to keep it. I release most fish, but some species, particularly panfishes will keep to eat. If I'm releasing them anyway & they get off at my feet, I'm good with it!
Once you realize that you've caught so many and killed a few too many(pre-JoeBrooks/LeeWulff), you'll replace "caught" with "fooled" or "got X-many to rise"...you'll enjoy the sport more.
Funny you would post that today Spencer, I fished with a fellow on Sunday who had at least one dozen nice fish take his fly but all of them came loose from it. We checked his hook repeatedly but there was no problem with the fly at all. The fly was one of my Bunny and Wool Sculpin patterns and I was using a very similar fly. While I had a good number of fish escape I also had to remove the hook from some. At the end of the evening when we were chatting the fellow told me that he was quite happy to have had contact with so many fish even though he didn't have any netted.
I've came to call it 'having play with fish' vs. catching fish. The style we were using was to swing the Sculpins across and then let then dangle below us. On the dangle is when the fish were taking and you don't react when the fish hit the fly, you just wait until they take off and they kinda hook themselves. It was fun and I was glad to be with such a good natured fisherman, some people would have become frustrated and irritable over that.
Man what a terrific state you're in..you still have wilderness in the majority with the bows, chromers and salmon. I was so addicted to trout in upper NYS(home) and trout in Maine(summers with grandparents)..in the 60s.. It was a different time, healthy hatches/waters/trout & salmon populations...and man, was 6x of the 60s/70s ever so weak! C&R wasn't practiced or even mentioned..fwiw. The fun thing I do these days up here in Maine is find the old cutting roads up in the woods...we hike and canoe, and often I bring the flyrod along. The natives are Brooktrout up here...they're like mice...just provide the environment and they multiply. C&R is nice to read and practice. Lee Wulff's phrases were too late read... Love the outdoors and wildlife...
Used to use the saying if you can touch the leader you caught the fish- and this goes back years ago from a salt water fishing show where they never put the fish in the boat. However my wife of all people (she doesn't fish) made the comment to a few of us talking on the deck; "if touching the leader counts as catching a fish, then why don't any of you have any pictures holding a leader?"
I guess you have to make the distinction between caught and landed for yourself, but fact is I still have no pica of empty leaders.