Good Information On Catch N Release....

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by crittergitter, Jun 30, 2008.

  1. crittergitter

    crittergitter Multi Species Angler

    I found this information in a good article online. I thought I would share this for anyone interested in reading it. If it is not something that interests you, then ya don't have to read it. ;)

    The power of today's fisherman has changed radically from anglers of the past. Television programs, books, magazines and websites are available to increase our knowledge. A cadre of trained professionals at State Game and Fish, who are expert in the science of fish behavior, habitat, forage and seasonal patterns, are on call. A dizzying array of technology is available; fish finders, flashers, GPS receivers, underwater cameras, high-powered boats, computers, weather satellites and quality charts all can improve our fishing success. Graphite rods, long-cast reels, engineered line and lures that do everything but stalk the fish, are common. Our ability to impact finite natural resources is unprecedented.
    Fishing Pressure
    Down the road from me is a municipal impoundment where I occasionally test the lures and rods I make. One evening this past summer, I caught 31 bass in an hour. Pretty good, huh? Unfortunately, all the fish were 10-12 inches long; there wasn't a decent fish in the bunch. This performance was repeated several more times last fall.

    Recently, while listening to the radio, I heard that ocean fish were 30% smaller than they were 50 years ago. While the blurb didn't qualify what type of fish, it got me thinking. I started digging through state smallmouth records and what I found was surprising. The average state record smallie, from all 48 states smallmouth bearing states, was caught in 1970, more than 30 years ago. Of the original states where smallies were naturally occurring, not stocked, the average record smallie was taken in 1956. Alarm bells went off! Where are all the big boys I always assumed were in there?

    Armed with my runty bass experience and the discovery of over-aged smallie records, I stopped in at State Game and Fish to talk with one of their biologists. He listened to my tales of runty bass and shrinking ocean catches, then replied, "I don't know about ocean fish, but what you saw with the small bass is the result of fishing pressure; when a guy catches a keeper, he keeps it. Good fish seldom grow to become great fish because they are caught and taken home. They never have the opportunity to grow big." This would seem to solve the historic records puzzle but where are conservation efforts today?

    Catch and Release
    The benefits of Catch and Release (C&R) have been extolled for years, but how many anglers actually practice it? I was told by Game and Fish, as well as others, that local anglers simply don't practice C&R. "It's alien to them. Some find it impossible to put a legal fish back in the water." Curious, I decided to do some checking.

    I contacted the various Game and Fish departments in almost every state and asked them what percentage of freshwater anglers practiced C&R. Most replied that they had no idea and did not track it: "we do not have specific data and are not able to offer a plausible estimate." Now there's some bad news. Just a couple states have a handle on who, how or if C&R is being practiced. These states survey a large percentage of licensed anglers every few years; an approach other states said they would soon be adopting.

    Finally, one Southern state said they preferred "selective harvest" over Catch and Release because they don't want to see fish die of predation, disease or age. They feel they can control fishery health through catch limits, size restrictions, slot limits and strict enforcement. Maybe.

    The C&R ethic can be taken too far. One of our Western states reported having an over-abundance of brown trout. The population is showing reduced growth, minor infections and higher mortality because the trout have exceeded the carrying capacity of the habitat. Game and Fish has made repeated requests for anglers to harvest legal fish, but so far, the fishermen refuse to stray from strict C&R practices, leaving Game and Fish to rethink how to reduce the trout population without the cooperation of "educated fishermen."
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2015
  2. RareVos

    RareVos Lost Sailor

    Well... if one of those Western states would like to send me out for a week of selective harvest on some Brownies I wouldn't complain.

  3. Wiper Swiper

    Wiper Swiper Banned

    From the article-- "Our ability to impact finite natural resources is unprecedented."

    I'd love to see that observation posed as a poll question. I'm not sure what percentage of folks who post here truly believe that it's so.

    Interesting about the state smallie records, but I will have to say that Ohio's isn't that old, and with the Erie factor, could be broken any day.

    Nice read. Thanks for sharing.
  4. misfit

    misfit MOD SQUAD

    interesting indeed.;)

    that is simply not true,but sounds like something i've read before.there are several factors that can negatively impact the quality of a fishery besides overharvesting fish.
    i believe it is so.but it doesn't necessarily mean only in a bad way,as some would have us believe.we also have the ability to make a positive impact on those resources
    another point i totally agree c&r can be as harmful to a given body of water as total catch and keep.most waters benefit greatest by some form of selective harvest of various species.
    just more proof that total c&r is not always the solution,but sometimes the problem.
  5. crittergitter

    crittergitter Multi Species Angler

    An honest question here; VHS can be discussed on a regional fishing report thread, but catch and release is a topic that is a no-no there?

    I believe that catch and release can be taken to far. However, on small streams and rivers that are particularly suseptible to flooding, runoff and pollution we should error on the side of conservation.

    If a guy keeps just 2 bass out of his own personal pond(1/2 acre) once a week for the entire fishing season. He may very well clean it out.

    Now, if 10 guys keep 1 bass per week out of small stream during a fishing season then they have decimated the population. Also, the pond can likely reproduce it's popluation of mature/spawning adults in approx 2 to 3 years. The stream/river will take 4 to 5 years under "ideal conditions".

    Again, it goes back to the old adage. Just because you "can" do something doesn't mean that you "should." It is up to us to be good stewards of the resource. I along with others believe that there is a right way and a wrong way and we are trying to share the information so that others can make well-informed choices.

  6. very good read. On both points of the benefits of C&R and the possible harm of C&R.

    It's a very fine line between the two. The biggest problem I see, is people trying to "Limit Out" just to say they "Limited out". Just last week, I had the chance to "limit out" on saugeyes down in Alum Creek. Instead, I tossed two back, the smallest two for future catches. I usually will stringer a good amount of fish, but in the end, atleast 75% of my catches get released due to size, or type of fish. I'm not bumble bee tuna here, I just catch enough legal fish to supply one meal per every two weeks for my lady and myself, usually panfish/crappie.
  7. crittergitter

    crittergitter Multi Species Angler

    Well, you see saugeye are a stocked fish. They are basically designed or meant to be a "put and take" fish. I for one would applaud you for keeping all the saugeye you can catch within the regs, even the small ones and including ones caught from a creek. Go ahead and limit out on those if you like. The state will put over 250 thousand more in the lake this fall and many of those will make it to the creek so you can catch them in the future. See how great that is! However, the same can not be said for smallmouth bass. We should do more to protect that resource.

    Also, I have found that saugeye hold up when frozen a little better than crappie and bluegill but to each his own.

  8. misfit

    misfit MOD SQUAD

    ok,here's your honest answer.
    the vhs thread you refer to was a "report" related to a specific "central ohio" lake.
    this thread is a discussion about c&r "in general",which is not species or regionally specific.
    it was not moved to spark another unrelated discussion or debate,but an attempt to give it more exposure to more members,many of whom may not read the central ohio forum.
  9. bluegill does pretty good. Just have to make sure you freeze the fillets as dry as possible. If the fillets are wet with water, it causes freezer burn pretty fast. I use a vacuum sealer before I freeze, gets most of the moisture/air out. I've thawed out pannies that where frozen for six months, and they cooked up like the day I cleaned them. Finding the best method is learning from mistakes though.
  10. crittergitter

    crittergitter Multi Species Angler

    You're right! We wouldn't want anglers from other parts of the state to know about a very harmful disease that is spread easily from one watershead to another via water in boats. :p ;) :p

    Joking Rick. It's all good. :D

  11. bucky


    i recently read an article on trout species. from what i remember catch and release is having some opposite effects. when trout were in decline stocking programs were introduced. as usual they screwed up. they put these trout in areas where they pushed out native species. brown trout from europe everywhere. brook trout in western states and rainbow to the eastern states. blah blah.

    some trout species in the west that are threatened.

    * Apache Trout
    * Bonneville Cutthroat
    * Bull Trout
    * California Golden Trout
    * Coastal Cutthroat
    * Colorado River Cutthroat
    * Gila Trout
    * Greenback Cutthroat
    * Lahontan Cutthroat
    * Little Kern Golden Trout
    * Paiute Cutthroat
    * Redband Trout
    * Rio Grande Cutthroat
    * Westslope Cutthroat
    * Yellowstone Cutthroat

    the move is to have anglers catch and keep the invading species and releasing the native as well as stocking the native species and restoring habitats to give them a boost as well as the extremes of poisoning the river to eliminate non native species. simply removing restrictions on invading species could quickly rid the streams of them ar at least give the native species a better chance.

    found the article, its a good read

    and a good site supporting the cause

    look at some of the pictures, beautiful fish.
  12. I also think that catch and release can be taken too far. I hear tv show hosts talking about stripers being a hardy fish and ok to release. If you go to lake cumberland you will see plenty of released fish belly up. The stripers don't release well when the water is warm, they fight too hard and spend too much energy. As much as we would like to c&r fish caught in the jumps all day its more ethical (just my opinoin) to take your two legal fish and keep them then move on to another species. I don't see the point in releasing a fish that is most likely going to die just so you can keep on reeling them in. I would really like to see a serious study on the mortality rates of different species of released fish.
  13. All very good points,but as with anything in life things can be taken too far including C&R. I think slot limits are the way to go in some to most cases.
    There is a reason people are catching more and bigger Muskies every year, one being the DNR's are doing a great job and MOST importantly Catch and Release among most Muskie fisherman.

    jcrdust, good point, that is why you will never see me Muskie fishing once the water gets above about 78 degrees.
    A poll I would like to see is how many people are C&R compared to people who keep undersize fish, too many, out of season, etc. You wouldn't get honest responses but I would guess it would be 3 to 1, with 3 being people who broke the law.
    Maybe it's just me, but I have called the TIP line too much for my liking!
    Take some home, mount a couple, but SOME fish have to be returned to continue the life cycle, like it or not.
  14. The more I think about it polls about catch and release would be tricky. I mean personally for me I dont c&r everything. I keep a certain size of walleye and perch. I have a hard time letting stripers go unless I am absolutly sure they have a good chance of survival(water temp, time of year, duration of fight). So stripers are kept if they are legal size. All esox go back, as well as black bass. I keep a few steelhead a year but release more than I keep and I don't care for bluegill and crappie so they go back too. I think most anglers are like me sometimes I keep most times i don't. With a goverment/scientific survey they most likely wouldn't allow for they selective harvest angler. Then again I could be wrong.
  15. The author of that article is writing from the subjective heart and fails any relative science.

    His "enemy" is himself and he further perpetuated the drumbeat of myths that results in the snowballing of misinformation.

    He's a writer and a sunset angler... the best to read...the worst to believe.

  16. crittergitter

    crittergitter Multi Species Angler

    I feel so enlightened now. Wow! :D