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Old 08-08-2010, 07:23 AM
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Default Would You Have Released This Trout?

Last night while fishing for pan size Brookies and Browns, I hooked a nice ~ 20" Brown.

I noticed the fight in it diminished quite quickly to the point where when I got it close to the net, it was like a log more than a fish.

First thing I noticed was it looked like a female (absence of the hooked lower jaw, which is the only way I can tell) so I intended to release her. I was careful handling her to get her out of the net.

As I've noticed with trout in this pond and have posted same in another thread, the hook was very deep, to the gills. While holding her up, her mouth was filling with blood and I couldn't see the hook. I changed my grip to the lower jaw, the gills opened and in a second, she was covered in blood and I could see where the blood was rushing out. I got the hook out but by now, the net, my shirt and vest, jeans and waders were covered in blood, with a pool of red on the water.

I decided after that blood loss, she wouldn't survive so I kept her, but later, couldn't help but feel guilty when I saw her belly full of spawn.

Now, as noted in the other post, I understand now the reason for fly fisherman carrying forceps, but that would have done nothing to save this fish as she had nearly bled to death by the time I got my hands on her.

Did I do the right thing by keeping her? I see no way she would have survived that blood loss and the damage to the gill area, but I can't still help but feel guilty.

Opinions?

Thanks.

Jamie.
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Old 08-08-2010, 07:44 AM
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Default Re: Would You Have Released This Trout?

Personally, I don't eat trout so I would have released the fish even knowing it would die. The fish would not go to waste in the water, at the very least it would add to the nutrients and other animals (crawdads, etc.) would benefit.

But if you DO like to eat fish, then I see no harm in your killing that mortally wounded fish and eating it. We wish they wouldn't get hooked deep like that, and they seldom do, but when they do you might as well take it.
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Old 08-08-2010, 09:11 AM
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Default Re: Would You Have Released This Trout?

I have kept a lot of trout over my lifetime because they are delicious, and my rule was that I kept no big ones.

I also fished a lot of remote areas I'd backpacked into, some of which - in Colorado, Maine and Canada needed to be thinned out because the trout were malnourished, and their numbers not kept in check by predators.

Two places in particular. One was a remote stream in Colorado where a 10" trout was a whopper, and consisted of a massive head and little tiny skinny body. A dozen would rush any fly on every cast. Another was in Quebec where the game warden told me that if I liked to eat trout to please keep every one I caught from the stream I was fishing. Those ate the fly even after all the hackle was chewed off and nothing remained but the dubbing.

In a case like yours, I would have kept the fish. One dead trout in the water is not going to change the sustainable forage for trout, but will make a dynomite meal for you.

In my view the "enemy" of our fisheries is not the sportsmen (who are regulated) , but genetic engineering of fish species, pollution, razing of the forests and so on.

The best thing we can do is to either squash the barbs, or buy barbless flies. This dramatically cuts down on mortality.

Circle hooks are now required down here for saltwater bait fishing, along with a venting tool for fish brought up from the depths with popped air bladders. I would not feel guilty about keeping a fish now and again.

Instead, feel guilty about not writing your senators and congressmen when corporate america is raping and poisioning our fisheries, genetic engineering is wiping out native species, and fish farming is eradicating real fish.

Cheers,
Jim
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Old 08-08-2010, 09:47 AM
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Default Re: Would You Have Released This Trout?

Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeln View Post
SNIP<<<We wish they wouldn't get hooked deep like that, and they seldom do, but when they do you might as well take it.
As posted in another thread, I believe the fish in this pond are starving, and to me, the reason they always seem to take the hook deep. The fish in this pond are "landlocked" by a marsh at the head and a natural / beaver dam at the foot. I think the pond is so full of fish that there isn't nearly enough to feed them all.

It's so close to civilization very few fish there as nearly nobody believes there are fish there. It's literally a 3 minute drive from my house and a 5 minute walk around the head of the pond where the little brook runs in. I see very little sign of anyone else fishing there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wjc View Post
SNIP<<<
In my view the "enemy" of our fisheries is not the sportsmen (who are regulated) , but genetic engineering of fish species, pollution, razing of the forests and so on.
<<<SNIP>>>
Instead, feel guilty about not writing your senators and congressmen when corporate america is raping and poisioning our fisheries, genetic engineering is wiping out native species, and fish farming is eradicating real fish.

Cheers,
Jim
I live in Newfoundland, where our federal government had for decades allowed (and still permits) the raping of our cod (and other species of fish) stocks to the point of near decimation, and I hear you.

Thanks for the responses.

Jamie
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Old 08-08-2010, 11:37 AM
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Default Re: Would You Have Released This Trout?

Jamie,
I think that you were right in taking the fish. No harm. No fowl.

If you want to learn of the pond's dynamics, try snorkeling it. Make a mental note of how many smaller fish are around compared to larger fish. As noted earlier, there may be such a large population of fish that the pond is near its carrying capacity. In that situation, the selective culling of a few fish may not be a bad idea.

In some high elevation lakes here in California, many are near their carrying capacity. District regulations allow for the take of up to 25 Brook Trout rather than the regular five fish limit. The size of these brookies is stunted due to overpopulation. An eight inch fish would be considered a large fish. In lakes that the populations are controled through take or predation, a twelve inch fish would be considered a large fish.

MP
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Old 08-08-2010, 03:31 PM
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Default Re: Would You Have Released This Trout?

Hi Jamie,

I think the important thing here is you need to get some forceps for sure and start bending down the barbs. These two things will greatly reduce the mortality of the fish you are catching.

Usually if you are catching 20" fish the lake is not at its capacity. I think you said you are fishing deep with your flies. If you are hooking the fish deep into the throat you may not be staying in contact with your fly. That is, you have too much slack line in the water and by the time you take up the slack and stick the fish, the fly is too deep in its throat. Try using less line slack and see if you can't strike the fish sooner in the take.

Frank
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Old 08-08-2010, 03:40 PM
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Default Re: Would You Have Released This Trout?

I don't think there is anything wrong with keeping a injured fish if your going dine on it later. There is some very good points in the post in this thread though, and I tend to agree with Frank.
Most of the time slack means good by fish for me, but there are those occasions when the hook is in the gut. If I cannot get the hook out with hemo's and there appears to be no damage to the fish, I'll usually clip the line and release the fish. It may not live, but I know I'll kill it trying to perform surgery just for a fly.
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Old 08-08-2010, 05:45 PM
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Default Re: Would You Have Released This Trout?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Whiton View Post
SNIP<<< I think you said you are fishing deep with your flies. If you are hooking the fish deep into the throat you may not be staying in contact with your fly. That is, you have too much slack line in the water and by the time you take up the slack and stick the fish, the fly is too deep in its throat. Try using less line slack and see if you can't strike the fish sooner in the take.

Frank
Hey Frank.

I use predominantly dry flies. To me, part of the thrill of fishing is seeing the fish rise to take the fly, and that helps (this Fly Fishing Noob, anyway) know when to set the hook.

That being said, there are times when the fly sinks either because of a lousy cast, or that fly is beyond dry stage and it needs to be cleaned or changed.

I will bet it is very possible I'm late in setting the hook. I've conciously been trying to not set it too early (as was suggested to me in an earlier thread of mine) and maybe I've gone too far the other way.

MoscaPescador:

Funny you mention snorkeling because I was just talking to my uncle (licensed SCUBA diver) about that this afternoon. I've asked him to go with me as I won't do it alone, for obvious safety reasons. If we do go take an underwater look around, I'll take a few pictures. I think I have a couple of underwater cameras left from my last vacation south. As for limits, around here it's maximum of 12, or 5 lbs +1. (Leaves a bit to interpretation, doesn't it?)

Again, thanks all for your responses. Really appreciate it!!

Jamie.
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Old 08-08-2010, 11:50 PM
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Default Re: Would You Have Released This Trout?

I tend to release almost all of the fish i catch. However if the fish is badly bleeding I usually think of two options: If the fish is large enough to make even a small meal out of it in conjunction with some other goodies, I will keep it. If the fish is downright tiny, and is bleeding profusely, as in not just a small trickle but a large amount of blood flowing, I will "hasten its passing", meaning im not going to just toss it on the banks and let it flop helplessly, and if im in an area abundant in wildlife, Ill toss it up into the brush in the hills, or back into the stream. Either way, it will be utilized by some form of wildlife, be it fish/bugs in the steam, or racoons, birds, bugs on land. As long as it gets put to use somehow youre in the right.

-Ben

*edit* If you dont feel that pang of regret and feeling of thankfulness from nature after keeping/killing a fish, whatever you wish to call it, I would seriously question your label as a Outdoorsman
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Old 08-09-2010, 08:42 AM
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Default Re: Would You Have Released This Trout?

Keeping it was fine. I began keeping stocked trout for the first time in 30+ years in 2006. I stopped a couple years later: didn't feel like transporting and
cleaning, etc. This past May, I caught a Brown on a little #18 BWO, and it was bleeding steadily. I decided to keep it, but it wouldn't have made much of a meal. The question then became whether to catch a couple more to go with it. I quickly caught a nice rainbow, and then another rainbow that broke off at the net. The rainbow swimming off with the hook in its mouth made me feel bad for a few minutes, but these trout were all destined to be caught or die in the warming water.

We shoot deer, pheasants, and other game animals/birds every year, and that's fine. The Pennsylvania Fish Commission encourages anglers to keep all bleeding trout, as they will not survive*. Better to make it a meal, than have it bleed to death (we've all seen dying fish, and it's never pretty). It's likely that your large trout has spawned before, so no big deal. Imagine if every egg became a viable trout. That stream/lake/river would be overcrowded, and suffering soon enough. It was a normal occurrence, during a normal course offishing, within a regulated season. State biologists take all of these scenarios into account when they set limits and seasons, and make recommendations to keep bleeding fish. Skip the 3 Hail Marys, and proceed to fishing for more trout.

* IF REGULATIONS ALLOW

Last edited by FrankB2; 08-09-2010 at 09:43 AM.
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