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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 03-04-2009, 09:31 PM
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Default Re: odd question

I think BY FAR the BEST points made in this post are those surrounding "Where did the fish come from?"

If you are fishing a heavily stocked lake or stream, IMHO the intent of those fish being put in the water is for anglers to have the opportunity to catch and take, bottom line" 95% of those stocked streams and lakes will not support natural reproduction if EVERYONE released EVERY fish they caught. Many factors (most likely due to temperature fluctuation, other predatory species in abundance, or poor spawning conditions) dictate that those fish would not reproduce or for that matter survive a seasonal cycle. So have a blast and take what you catch (within legal limit of course, and only what you plan to eat.) I have been overzealous in the past and thrown away many freezer burnt trout in my day. Live and learn.

I am in NEPA and we have several wild trout producing rivers and streams. This is where you have the opportunity to be a preservationist. I respect these waters and do not believe in killing these fish, even for the sake of a good meal (or a decoration on the wall). It has nothing to do with the clubs and groups that promote catch and release and wildlife preservation although I thank them for educating me. It has more to do with the thought that, "If I continue to take from these waters, and others do the same, eventually, the natural population will be negatively effected and this natural resource may diminish". Many of these waters are heavily restricted No natural bait allowed, combined with low creel limits (2 if any, and it is a limited time of the year, dead summer when the trout are somewhat finicky) is intended to protect this natural resource. As for the question, "How do I know if the fish are stocked or wild?" Here in PA that information is readily available in the booklet that comes with your license, or online at the State Fishing website. You also will not find these waters on a stocking schedule, as they are not stocked.

I don't look down on those that would decide to take from natural reproducing waters, or say anything to anyone in malice. I did however have a young guy (20ish) just this past year say to me, "DUDE!!! That was a 20 inch Brown trout, why the hell did you let it go!!!!" Well the 1/2 hour conversation to follow was one of me passing on what was passed on to me, and I think he "Got it"
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Old 03-04-2009, 09:48 PM
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Default Re: odd question

Forgot to mention..... Wildcat, GREAT topic, and nothing "odd" about the question. I loved it and I enjoyed reading everyone's posts. Ultimately, we all have the freedom to make the decision to release or not to release, and when you have a good understanding of why you should or shouldn't, it tends to make everyone more responsible.
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Old 03-06-2009, 05:16 AM
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Default Re: odd question

I agree, I don't think any of us catch enough fish to depleat any mass numbers of fish in any given area. Most ppl throw back the ones that they don't want...I'm not taking home a fish for dinner that would be better as bait! Also, unless your hooking these poor fish in the eye or something a hook with a barb really isn't that distressing to the animal. I've caught fish that have been bitten by something and they are still swimming around....I doubt a small hole in its lip will make a difference.
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Old 03-09-2009, 06:52 AM
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Default Re: odd question

The only thing "odd" about C & R to me is how different species are treated. I mostly FF for warm water species and release all I catch. I don't need the food and wading down a MO stream is not very conductive to saving fish for the table. I also am an avid catfisherman on the Mississippi River. I also practice C & R with them, however, which get released is the opposite as with most other species. Catfish lay their eggs in the best locations they can find and stick around to protect the eggs & small fry. The best locations go the the biggest fish. Many studies have been done that show that the largest survival rate of the fry comes from the protection of the largest fish. Thus, while most any size catfish have similar reproductive rates, the fry of the larger fish live longer & more are able to survive on their own. Because of this, most trophy catfishers tend to release the larger fish and keep the smaller ones for the table. As for me, on the rare occasion I choose to bring them to the table, I only keep those under 10 lb's. As a secondary benefit, releasing the larger fish gives other fisherman the chance to catch a trophy also. Am I protective of my waters? Darn tootin I am. I have no claim to them for myself only, but many a tear has flown watching commercial fisherman "legally" pull out literally tons of cats over 50 lb's from my favorite locations.
Nobody I know have always practiced C & R, but have changed their ideas over the course of years. It is a learned behavior, not unlike giving to charity. We go our whole lives earning as much money as we can. It is a transition whereas we begin to give back what we have earned. At first, it feels contradictory to what we have practiced all our lives, but at the same time, it is a feeling like no other when we get to the point we no longer feel the need to show others what we have done. It is enough to know ourselves what our accomplishments are. No longer are we in "competition" with others, we are now in "competition" with ourselves.
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Old 03-09-2009, 12:18 PM
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Default Re: odd question

MTCW,
There are a whole lot more people fishing now days than back in my younger days. There is so much more pressure on lakes and rivers now. I live on a 200 acre lake and you wouldn't believe how many people fish day after day, bad weather and all. If you don't believe heavy fishing can deplete the resource then do a little research the subject. I remember a study done in Missouri some years back. They thought the Crappie population was down because of slow growth but found out it was because of heavy fishing pressure. People were catching the fish before they had a chance of living long enough to grow bigger.
Here in my home state I am seeing more and more lakes with size limits on Crappie because of fishing pressure. Just recently a new lake that has only been open for two years now reported the Bream population was down because of heavy pressure during the spawn last year.
I am contuniuly amazed at the attitude of some people that think they can come to my home lake and catch 20 or 30 Crappie or Bream day after day. They need to do a little research on how many Crappie or Bream a normal lake will support per acre. And then research how slow these fish grow and how long it takes them to get to eating size.
Sure the old days were great and I'm thankful I lived to see coolers full of fish after a days fishing but things change and our planet has a lot more fishermen than it did when I was young.
JMTCW

BigNick
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