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Old 05-17-2008, 09:23 PM
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Question Tough Decision to make ???

Hope Spring fishing is going well for you.

Had a situation today that I thought would make a good thread so here we go. Took the Hyde out today, began fishing for Spring Steelhead, but no luck. The river I was on today has a variety of species & also happens to have another river dump in near the boat landing, so I took a side trip up that way. Hooked into a small 8"-10" Smallies almost right away then changed flies. I tried a recently tied new Olive Sculpin tube fly. As soon as the fly hit the surface there was a good sized boil & the fight was on, I had hooked into a 4# Smallie. Once I got the fish in the net & into the boat I noticed that he had engulfed the fly so deeply that he was bleeding all over the place. After I removed the hook I tried desperately to revive this fish. He did not hardly move at all. His gills were functioning, but he made no effort to pull away from my grasp. Here in Michigan we cannot keep Smallies until after Memorial day so here's the delema, what do you do with a fish you know is going to die if you release it back into the river ? As I held him in the water I debated in my mind what was best. Obeying the fishing laws ?? I decided to release the fish. What would you have done ?? ( He did disappear from view after he was released. )

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Old 05-17-2008, 09:39 PM
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Default Re: Tough Decision to make ???

I think you made the right decision. As bad as it sounds, the Game Wardens I've encountered over the years don't take too highly of breaking the law, even if in your heart it seems to be the right thing to do. Take a trip on an offshore "party boat" sometime and look at all the red snapper floating on the surface after being hoisted up from over 150 feet. Big fines for keeping undersized fish, even though one than one usually dies. Tough choices.

Phil
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Old 05-17-2008, 10:01 PM
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Default Re: Tough Decision to make ???

Here in Jackson Hole there is a slot limit of no fish between 13" and 18". If found myself in the same situation as yours several times over 12 yrs of guiding. Not sure about your area but here we have many species of wild life that feed on the trout. Letting one go is not letting one go to waste. Eagles, Osprey, Pelicans, Otters ect... will make use of the weak or dieing. You hate to think of the suffering but letting it go and staying with in the bounds of the law is the right thing to do.
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Old 05-18-2008, 03:30 PM
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Default Re: Tough Decision to make ???

My choice in that situation would be to kill it quick and thet return it
Save the suffering and abide by the law
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Old 05-18-2008, 10:10 PM
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Default Re: Tough Decision to make ???

I would say its not worth it to try to keep one illegally, no matter what. Its quite pricey if you get caught.

And while we might think its a waste to flop a perfectly good, though dead, fish back into the water, it will still provide nourishment to the ecosystem it comes to rest in. The way the natural world works is waste=food.

I don't mean this to say all killing of fish is fine, just that flopping a dead one back in does produce some benefit to that environment.
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Old 05-19-2008, 10:42 AM
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Default Re: Tough Decision to make ???

I would have released it too. I've had it happen to me too, and I'm sure others as well. I actually asked a fish commission officer one day, what his opinion was. He told me that unfortunately the laws have no opinions, and they are what they are. If you were caught with the illegal fish, there would really be no way for the officer to tell if you were "poaching" or trying to do the ethically right thing. He explained that fish wouldn't go to waste, which I already knew.
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Old 05-19-2008, 08:07 PM
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Default Re: Tough Decision to make ???

Your experience reminded me of deer hunting trip my Dad once had. He came across a small wounded doe shot by a hunter who was unable or apathetic in following her up. Without hesitation or legal concern, he immediately killed it. He dressed it out and waited for the hunter who never showed. My Dad contacted the game warden who showed up in a distrusting mood. After confiscating the deer, the game warden left with an air of benevolence in just warning my Dad. I was never so proud of a sportsman. Legal does not always reflect morals. But, this choice is best made in one's own heart. 2+2 and 3+1 both equal 4. We all see the world through different eyes.
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Old 05-26-2008, 08:29 PM
 
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Default Re: Tough Decision to make ???

It's a shame to have a fish die contrary to one's intentions. But fish, like people, aren't guaranteed a full life span, as we're reminded of on Memorial Day.

Secondly, a dead fish in a stream or lake isn't wasted. One way or another, nutrients have to be returned to the water. In fertile streams, insects provide a high %, but fish bodies are always helpful. Esp. here in the Pacific Northwest, where acidic rivers don't grow huge numbers of insects, but the biomass of dead Pacific salmon take up the slack. (We've recently learned to fertilize spawning streams with wood-chipped frozen surplus salmon from our hatcheries.)
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Old 05-27-2008, 12:10 AM
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Default Re: Tough Decision to make ???

Quote:
Originally Posted by tie one on View Post
Hope Spring fishing is going well for you.

Had a situation today that I thought would make a good thread so here we go. Took the Hyde out today, began fishing for Spring Steelhead, but no luck. The river I was on today has a variety of species & also happens to have another river dump in near the boat landing, so I took a side trip up that way. Hooked into a small 8"-10" Smallies almost right away then changed flies. I tried a recently tied new Olive Sculpin tube fly. As soon as the fly hit the surface there was a good sized boil & the fight was on, I had hooked into a 4# Smallie. Once I got the fish in the net & into the boat I noticed that he had engulfed the fly so deeply that he was bleeding all over the place. After I removed the hook I tried desperately to revive this fish. He did not hardly move at all. His gills were functioning, but he made no effort to pull away from my grasp. Here in Michigan we cannot keep Smallies until after Memorial day so here's the delema, what do you do with a fish you know is going to die if you release it back into the river ? As I held him in the water I debated in my mind what was best. Obeying the fishing laws ?? I decided to release the fish. What would you have done ?? ( He did disappear from view after he was released. )

Tie One On----------------------<*))))><
Fisher of Men
Better to release the fish. If I were a fish I'd rather die at home in the river than in someones boat. No fine for release either just the bad memories.
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