Catch and release argument

nathanvn

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I recently got into an argument with my parents about my belief in catch and release. I said," I will not keep/bring home one steelhead trout I catch." The steelhead trout fishing has become so bad in my area American River that you are extremely lucky to catch three a week. My mother said," You won't even bring home one wild steelhead trout, even for me?" I replied with a stern "NO, but I am willing to bring home a hatchery steelhead trout as an alternative". She declined saying "They taste too fishy," (Yet on an annual charter salmon fishing trip we tasted a hatchery fish and it tasted minutely different). Then they stated how incredibly selfish I am, not wanting to a keep a fish over, fulfilling my parents wishes after all the things they have done for me (raising me and providing). Catching and releasing, especially wild steelhead trout is special to me because I want them to prosper. My parents think i'm crazy, because I wont bring home a wild fish; I love nature more than I love them. (Which is true). I was wondering if you can send me your thoughts on this argument.

Thank you,
Nathan Nguyen
 

GrtLksMarlin

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Hmm, well I think this story has more layers than would be appropriate discussing on a public forum, yet I'll give you my personal "opinion" (which has no more value than yours).

First off as to the fish. Though your intentions are admirable, and serve the greater good albeit in a minimal way, do what you think is best and that you can live with, just be aware there is more to your life than just a fish.

That said, if it is legal where you live to take a Steelhead then in reality the experts being your state's DNR has already determined through scientific study and research that the population will not be adversely affected by harvesting them to the limits set down.....In fact, there are actually times when a lack of a harvest does more harm than good.

What you have to realize is that most state DNR's are trying to establish a healthy balance of all things relating to the fishery. Too few of this species might result in too many of that other to even the extreme of reproductive sustainablity....Too many however might result in a depletion of their food source. That might result in an unhealthy population at best, and at worst a crash in numbers from poor health and low reproduction yields.

It is an INCREDIBLY complex balancing act that I nor I suspect you have the education to determine. So rely upon your DNR to set the standards.........Past that you then need to determine if it morally suits your own opinions. Know in the end however, if you abide by the DNR's rules, whether or not you as a single individual harvest fish will doubtfully make any difference.

What I will say is if you do choose to harvest Steelhead, take only males. Besides the fact that taking the female will hurt your fishing, when a female is taken thousands upon thousands of fish from subsequent generations are lost, yet taking a male will only mean the loss of one.

Past that, whether just young or perhaps having other issues that are NONE of MY business getting into, nor do I want to, the relationship with your family is more important than any fish......Now I did NOT say more important then your self determined moral limits, yet most certainly more important then a fish.

Personally I'd advise two things in that regard.
1. Edit your post to remove your statement as to what you love most.
2. Consider working on that relationship with your family instead of devoting your time to fishing.

In the end however, it's your life.....Live it how you see fit.

B.E.F.
 

comeonavs

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My wife always wants me to bring home trout, I am 110% catch and release. Just like I don't hunt I don't care if people hunt legally and ethically. If you want to catch and keep, follow the rules and be ethical.

Tell your folks what I tell my wife...if you want to keep one, come with me and catch one and do with it what you want.
 

alt1001

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I believe in Murphy's Law in that 'if it can happen, it will happen'. In other words, if you don't keep said fish, somebody or something else will. So don't believe for one second that if you don't keep that fish, that is in some sort of conservancy or safe haven. I agree fishing is tougher than it used to be in the past but I do not believe it is due to declining numbers in particular streams. I personally believe it to be more along the lines of pickier fish due to the sheer number of catch and release fisherman today. 40 years ago there were no regulations and catch and release was rarely heard of. Fish populations turned out just fine. Me personally, I keep a few wild trout every year. I hate stocked fish because they taste terrible and are mushy (not firm) due to the lack of swimming in the resistance of a stream. Wild trout are firm with much better taste.
 

bear 007

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I used to go through the same thing with my mom, I'd kill 1 or 2 spring Brookies a year for her, if it where up to her she would have had the freezer full. In my opinion you have to do what you think is best, don't let other people influence your decisions, I'm sure your parents will get over it especially if they know how strongly you feel about it.

Be careful what you say they wont be around forever, your parents that is.
 
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geordie41

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Hmm, well I think this story has more layers than would be appropriate discussing on a public forum, yet I'll give you my personal "opinion" (which has no more value than yours).

First off as to the fish. Though your intentions are admirable, and serve the greater good albeit in a minimal way, do what you think is best and that you can live with, just be aware there is more to your life than just a fish.

That said, if it is legal where you live to take a Steelhead then in reality the experts being your state's DNR has already determined through scientific study and research that the population will not be adversely affected by harvesting them to the limits set down.....In fact, there are actually times when a lack of a harvest does more harm than good.

What you have to realize is that most state DNR's are trying to establish a healthy balance of all things relating to the fishery. Too few of this species might result in too many of that other to even the extreme of reproductive sustainablity....Too many however might result in a depletion of their food source. That might result in an unhealthy population at best, and at worst a crash in numbers from poor health and low reproduction yields.

It is an INCREDIBLY complex balancing act that I nor I suspect you have the education to determine. So rely upon your DNR to set the standards.........Past that you then need to determine if it morally suits your own opinions. Know in the end however, if you abide by the DNR's rules, whether or not you as a single individual harvest fish will doubtfully make any difference.

What I will say is if you do choose to harvest Steelhead, take only males. Besides the fact that taking the female will hurt your fishing, when a female is taken thousands upon thousands of fish from subsequent generations are lost, yet taking a male will only mean the loss of one.

Past that, whether just young or perhaps having other issues that are NONE of MY business getting into, nor do I want to, the relationship with your family is more important than any fish......Now I did NOT say more important then your self determined moral limits, yet most certainly more important then a fish.

Personally I'd advise two things in that regard.
1. Edit your post to remove your statement as to what you love most.
2. Consider working on that relationship with your family instead of devoting your time to fishing.

In the end however, it's your life.....Live it how you see fit.

B.E.F.
Some very sound advice. well said that man.
 

smilingduck

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I was taught catch and release fly fishing. We never brought home any trout. I would fish for trout in the summer and steelhead in the winter. We would fish the same rivers every summer. Three summers in a row I caught the same fish in almost the same exact location, it's jaw was damaged hanging down on one side I noticed when releasing the fish from a large hook it was torn and hanging somewhat. I don't think I caused that damage cause it was not bleeding and on the opposite side that was hooked. The next summer I caught him noticing the jaw still hanging then again the next summer. It really made an impact on my fishing and understanding of why catch and release of wild trout, steelhead,salmon and Striped bass are necessary in California.

I suggest you watch this movie with your family

Rivers of a Lost Coast | You'll never know what we've lost, unless you know what we had.

It is a movie about the demise of California's runs of Steelhead and the men that chased the steel in the heyday.

Thank you for releasing the wild fish I tip my hat to you sir.
 

mikel

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To begin with, it's not legal to take wild steelhead in the American, so, that takes care of that.

If you choose to kill the occasional hatchery fish, go for it.

To those not from Ca, between habitat destruction, pollution, dams, poachers and snaggers, these fish have their little fins full...and of course now this is 2 years with no water. They aren't pickier than they used to be...there just aren't enough of them.

Nathan, make peace with your folks and explain the law to them.
 

alt1001

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Be careful what you say they wont be around forever
Long term mismanagement of their habitat, food sources and population is what will harm population numbers in the future.

Saying to watch what you say on keeping a couple here and there, is not going to hinder their survival.

Streams are very complex ecosystem and we cannot allow ourselves to become so sensationalized on catch and release that we actually create reverse selective harvest. The religious following of Catch and Release actually have a lot of biologist more worried about future populations than those who keep considering the lopsided numbers of those types of fisherman.

A fair balance is absolutely necessary.
 

silver creek

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I have a question and several comments.

(1) How do you parents know that a hatchery steelhead tastes different than a wild steelhead?

If they know that because you once brought them a wild steelhead, then it follows that bringing them another one will not satisfy their desire for you to CONTINUE to harvest wild fish.

If they don't know then, well .......

Regarding their comment that you don't love them enough to bring home a wild fish; I believe the disagreement has nothing to do with love at all. "Love" is never contingent on a quid pro quo.

The greatest description of what love is, is below.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

You must decide whether the request to harvest a wild fish honors or dishonors, trusts or distrusts, is prideful or humble, rejoices in the truth, trusts or distrusts your personal ethic and identity.

I am a parent probably much older than your parents. Truth be told, a parent does not decide to have a child for the child's sake. They have children because THEY want to have children. YOU were first a blessing to them rather than the other way around.

Being Asian myself, I have heard that Asian and Jewish mothers must be related somehow because they often play the guilt card with their children. My father never did but my mother did.

If this is the worst disappointment they have in you, they are very lucky indeed.
 
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mikel

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"Streams are very complex ecosystem and we cannot allow ourselves to become so sensationalized on catch and release that we actually create reverse selective harvest. The religious following of Catch and Release actually have a lot of biologist more worried about future populations than those who keep considering the lopsided numbers of those types of fisherman."

We're not discussing a stream in the Mtns. This is a river which begins for steelhead below the dams just outside Sacramento and ends in town where it meets the Sacramento River. It runs thru the state Capitol almost it's entire fishable length.

The Sac area population is approx 2.5 million, and this is the closest steelhead/stripers fishery to the Bay Area, for a few million more. EVERY fish in this system is important. With due respect to Appalachian trout streams, this is a different arena.
 

alt1001

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"Streams are very complex ecosystem and we cannot allow ourselves to become so sensationalized on catch and release that we actually create reverse selective harvest. The religious following of Catch and Release actually have a lot of biologist more worried about future populations than those who keep considering the lopsided numbers of those types of fisherman."

We're not discussing a stream in the Mtns. This is a river which begins for steelhead below the dams just outside Sacramento and ends in town where it meets the Sacramento River. It runs thru the state Capitol almost it's entire fishable length.

The Sac area population is approx 2.5 million, and this is the closest steelhead/stripers fishery to the Bay Area, for a few million more. EVERY fish in this system is important. With due respect to Appalachian trout streams, this is a different arena.
Sounds like it. Never had to deal with that nor have I been around it. Kind of glad in sorts.

I understand. Go with your gut, and I'll go with mine.
 

bear 007

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Be careful what you say they wont be around forever

Long term mismanagement of their habitat, food sources and population is what will harm population numbers in the future.

Saying to watch what you say on keeping a couple here and there, is not going to hinder their survival.

Streams are very complex ecosystem and we cannot allow ourselves to become so sensationalized on catch and release that we actually create reverse selective harvest. The religious following of Catch and Release actually have a lot of biologist more worried about future populations than those who keep considering the lopsided numbers of those types of fisherman.

A fair balance is absolutely necessary.

Sorry for the misunderstanding, I meant his parents:(
 

smilingduck

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I believe in Murphy's Law in that 'if it can happen, it will happen'. In other words, if you don't keep said fish, somebody or something else will. So don't believe for one second that if you don't keep that fish, that is in some sort of conservancy or safe haven. I agree fishing is tougher than it used to be in the past but I do not believe it is due to declining numbers in particular streams. I personally believe it to be more along the lines of pickier fish due to the sheer number of catch and release fisherman today. 40 years ago there were no regulations and catch and release was rarely heard of. Fish populations turned out just fine. Me personally, I keep a few wild trout every year. I hate stocked fish because they taste terrible and are mushy (not firm) due to the lack of swimming in the resistance of a stream. Wild trout are firm with much better taste.
Fish populations turned out just fine?

If they turned out "just fine" why are there hatchery fish at all in the river of the OP?

We can't just hope everything will work out and turn a blind eye. Man has had a negative effect on Steelhead populations. This young man is trying to do the right thing and I am thankful for anglers like him using fly or conventional tackle.
 

ia_trouter

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I release most of what I catch unless I am certain it is a species on a particular water that should be harvested in the name of balancing the fishery. In many states the DNR probably makes an earnest attempt at setting proper limits. We don't have too much quality water so it is much more about stocking and selling licenses. I am certain that many of the fish I release will be caught again next week and harvested by someone else. I am completely OK with that as long as they are not greedy and wasteful. I will always cringe whenever I see a stringer of 50 nice fish.
 

fly_guy12955

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I keep a few stockers. I do like them. But not if they are too big,,,don't taste as good to me. But now'a'days I release esp any big stockers I catch along with any wild or native fish. Some youngan or old timer might catch that big one I turn back..and that's a good thing.

I'm under no illusion that the next guy might well catch and keep the fish I turn lose. And that's too,,as long as like the man said,,they are not greedy or wasteful.

I'd be lying to say I keep no wild fish,,just no wild trout. Bluegills, crappie, catfish,,that's good eating. I do turn all bass back too. I love fighting a good bass and might just catch it again when it's bigger. The occasional walleye I catch is headed for the table too,,since I catch one just occasionally anyways. I'm sure I don't do them any damage by keeping one now and then.

Mike
 

silver creek

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I believe in Murphy's Law in that 'if it can happen, it will happen'. In other words, if you don't keep said fish, somebody or something else will. So don't believe for one second that if you don't keep that fish, that is in some sort of conservancy or safe haven. I agree fishing is tougher than it used to be in the past but I do not believe it is due to declining numbers in particular streams. I personally believe it to be more along the lines of pickier fish due to the sheer number of catch and release fisherman today. 40 years ago there were no regulations and catch and release was rarely heard of. Fish populations turned out just fine. Me personally, I keep a few wild trout every year. I hate stocked fish because they taste terrible and are mushy (not firm) due to the lack of swimming in the resistance of a stream. Wild trout are firm with much better taste.
I see several problems with your philosophy, based on Murphy's Law.

Perhaps the best way to express my feeling is to have you read the "Starfish Story".

"A young man is walking along the ocean and sees a beach on which thousands and thousands of starfish have washed ashore. Further along he sees an old man, walking slowly and stooping often, picking up one starfish after another and tossing each one gently into the ocean.

“Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?,” he asks.

“Because the sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them further in they will die.”

“But, old man, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it! You can’t possibly save them all, you can’t even save one-tenth of them. In fact, even if you work all day, your efforts won’t make any difference at all.”

The old man listened calmly and then bent down to pick up another starfish and threw it into the sea. “It made a difference to that one.”


Those of us who are older have seen what a philosophy based on "If I don't get mine first, someone else will," leads to.

Alt, because you cannot be responsible for what others do; DOES NOT MEAN, you are NOT RESPONSIBLE for what YOU DO. If you are not part of the solution, then you must be part of the problem. It takes some people a bit longer to realize that we either survive together or sink together.

If I may be so bold to suggest you read a discussion on another list, I suggest you read this one:

This "thread" should bring out even more bowls of popcorn....
 

guest61

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It might make you feel better to know there aren't any wild fish in the American river. That gene pool has been tainted by hatcheries so long that native fish have gone the way of the Do-do. Same with the Trinity and several other western rivers. this is the conundrum of hatcheries... but that's a controversial subject for another thread. As far as what you do with your own knife, as long as you are ethically within the law, don't feel guilty about harvesting a fish once in a while. Just please dispatch it humanely and quickly. :)
 

furnacefella

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The right or wrong of the argument is not the problem, it is the argument itself. I will assume you are a young person arguing with your parents. I can assure you there is many an estranged son/daughter and divorced man/woman that are 100% right and very much alone in their righteousness.

I refuse to shoot female deer. I am glad that others do for conservation reasons and a healthy herd. Many times I have been asked to shoot a doe as we are allowed two along with our buck tag. I simply reply "If I see a good one I certainly will." I would rather be though of as a bad hunter than go through the argument and perhaps lose a friend over it.

The one thing that will save you a lot of grief in life is to learn to choose your battles wisely.
 

argail

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I recently got into an argument with my parents about my belief in catch and release. I said," I will not keep/bring home one steelhead trout I catch." The steelhead trout fishing has become so bad in my area American River that you are extremely lucky to catch three a week. My mother said," You won't even bring home one wild steelhead trout, even for me?" I replied with a stern "NO, but I am willing to bring home a hatchery steelhead trout as an alternative". She declined saying "They taste too fishy," (Yet on an annual charter salmon fishing trip we tasted a hatchery fish and it tasted minutely different). Then they stated how incredibly selfish I am, not wanting to a keep a fish over, fulfilling my parents wishes after all the things they have done for me (raising me and providing). Catching and releasing, especially wild steelhead trout is special to me because I want them to prosper. My parents think i'm crazy, because I wont bring home a wild fish; I love nature more than I love them. (Which is true). I was wondering if you can send me your thoughts on this argument.

Thank you,
Nathan Nguyen
Hey, Nathan...
You are not alone in this situation! When I told my parents that I'm letting go what I caught, they looked at me like I was crazy (they think I pick up craziness c&r in N America) Ok, when we are, I & my brother returned from fishing, we brought the fish... my old dad managed to burn the fish, when he cooked... I was very upset, and said it would be better she swam in the river!
But, then I bake fragrant bread, took jam and butter, brewed fresh tea - this is the way, when all is well between us! You know your or try to find!
We have our own point of view on today fishery, parents have their own... (especially when they are in another country)
Hurt when you see that someone is leaving home with fish, and You cares about population...
I once heard one young fisherman asked older one why I let go of the fish, he told him to catch her tomorrow. See not all young people think like you!
Should not of course forget the correct method of releasing the fish, and not only that!
Pile up video trailer: [ame=http://vimeo.com/75462273]Wild Reverence " the wild steelhead's last stand" trailer on Vimeo[/ame] about steelhead
 
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