Catch and Release??? - Fly Fishing Forum
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Old 07-26-2005, 02:51 AM
AlaskanAtHeart AlaskanAtHeart is offline
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Catch and Release???

I'm sure I'm opening a can of worms, but please, someone, educate me about the "big deal" of catch and release?

On another very good FF site, there is a comment that "since we no longer need to kill fish to eat"......I live in Alaska...there are a LOT of people here that DO need to do just that.

So, what is the deal?

Is C&R the in-thing now? Are we not supposed to fish for food anymore?

I practice C&R when I catch something I'm not supposed to, for example, in the river near my home, Arctic Grayling are C&R only, so if I catch them, I release them. If I catch a trout or salmon out of there, though, it's dinner. Is this wrong?

Personally, I find fishing just to C&R slightly cruel. I understand the sport of it, the thrill of the fight, all that, but if it were me, I really wouldn't like a hook through my cheek for someone's sport, you know? (I don't have a problem with people who only fish C&R, that's just my take on it.)

I grew up on the Gulf of Mexico, on a shrimp boat if you want specifics, until I was about 10 years old. When we weren't out shrimping, chances were good you'd find me on my daddy's bass boat in a lake fishing, or catching stump-knockers in the river behind my grandmother's house. Tiny ones got tossed back, but if they were eating size, they were dinner, or breakfast, as the case may be. Maybe I'd be on the boat with my Gram, headed for mullet lake, maybe we were catching bream, but they were being caught to be eaten. Nights we weren't shrimping, you'd probably find me out gigging frogs with my daddy, or possibly crabbing for blues with a piece of chicken on a string.

Since then, I haven't really fished much, did some deep sea fishing while I was on the shrimp boat, of course, and in my teens, you'd often find me surf-fishing in the Atlantic with my step-dad, but again, they were for eating. We didn't eat the sharks, though!

So, is my perspective because I'm the kid of a "good ole boy" and hunting and fishing was a way of life for us? Do I need to educate myself on this? Is it no longer cool to fish for food, but pay grocery store prices when I want it on my plate?

Last edited by AlaskanAtHeart; 07-26-2005 at 06:37 PM.
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  #2  
Old 07-26-2005, 06:58 PM
wilbert wilbert is offline
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In an ideal word catch and release would not be needed but we dont live in an ideal world and there are just not enough salmon in the rivers to sustain killing every fish caught (my point of view). I usually keep 1 salmon a year for eating and then put all others back because 1 fish is enough for me to eat and I hope that by carefully returing fish to the rivers they will spawn and increase the numbers of fish in the system. I have fished on rivers that are total C&R and it does not bother me that I have to return all fish as I can see from the catch returns that year on year the catches are improving. Whether this is down to C&R or just a natural cycle is debateable but I would like to think it is down to C&R and all the hard work is paying off.
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Old 07-26-2005, 07:57 PM
DEERHAAWK DEERHAAWK is offline
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Catch and Release

Alaskan,
Good topic! Let's do this;
Say there's 1000 Flyfisher Men and Women in each state. Thats 49,000 total in the contiguious United States, 'cause I dont think that there are that many in Hawaii, but there's a few. Anyhow, if each of those went fishing each weekend during regular season, and kept just 1 fish each time, that would be 12 fish aprox for a 4 month season, we are talking 600,000 fish bonked.....just by Fly folks. That is only flyfishing! which although it being the fastest growing segment of the fishing thing overall, still makes up a small portion. You see where Im going with this? The question is not weither "Alaskan should be able to keep and eat fish", the question is what does it take to make a resource sustainable. One of the most important parts of that is realizing that this resource IS sustainable, and a BIG way we as Sportsman can activly promote this resource is to practice C+R. Properly released fish have a very high survival rate, I want to say 95%? (Correct me if I'm wrong guys)
I have 2 young boys, both flyfish and have been raised to understand the importance of C+R. Thats not to say that they have never enjoyed a Trout for breakfast! I on the other hand practice 100% C+R in all my angling. I want the resource to be there when there kids get old enough to enjoy the outdoors.
C+R is one part of a Sportsman's overall relationship with the natural resource that He or She utilizes over the course of their lifetime, that coupled with the boundarys set by your local Fish and Wildlife can keep this resource producing for generations to come!
Catch and Release for fish is not a "Bad" thing, it is in fact a very "Good" thing for you and me and all Anglers!

Deerhawk
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Old 07-26-2005, 08:36 PM
ashbourn ashbourn is offline
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If you are going to eat the fish that is fine. The reason C&R was created and pushed was because 50 years ago if you caught a fish you kept it, and most did not eat them. I have pictures of dozen of trout laying on the river bank, people would catch fish show everyone how many and then throw them out. I am a huge preacher or C&R but have no problem if someone keeps the fish to eat, I think there is nothing better then a fresh trout.
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Old 07-27-2005, 01:07 AM
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Eric Eric is offline
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Catch & Release

I don't think there's a visitor to this board, no matter how casual or occasional, who has not wrestled with this question. Each of us eventually works it out for him or herself -- I can only offer an opinion after many years of thinking about this.

I blieve the question of whether to catch and release or catch and kill is situational. The first thing that needs to be considered when deciding which way to go is the sustainability of the fishery. Many fisheries cannot support the killing of fish, even when very restrictive limits are imposed by the regulating agencies. Some fragile fisheries are even regulated as no-kill, and many lodges enforce a no-kill policy in an effort to maintain a quality sports fishery for their guests.

Nevertheless, there are times and places where killing fish may be in the best interests of the resource. Seldom visited cirque lakes supporting large populations of stunted brook trout are one such example. Farm ponds overcrowded with bluegill may be another. Non-native fish that are crowding out more desireable native species may be targeted for slaugher, and so forth. In short, catch and release depends on the situation.

Some anglers practice catch and release under all conditions. This is their personal ethic and choice, and I don't quarrel with it. I do quarrel with their proselytising this ethic to situations where it doesn't reasonably apply or for castigating other anglers who don't share their "no exceptions" ethic.

Personally, about the only fish I keep are Chinook and Coho salmon, with the occasional bright hatchery steelhead. The stocks I fish are abundant ones, and I limit myself to what myself and family consume. Fish are good food, and, if the fishery can stand it, bonk what you need and bring 'em home to the barby.

As to whether fish are particularly injured or distressed by being caught, I don't think their distress is a big thing for them. I think all of us who regularly release fish have caught the same fish twice, often with hours of the initial hookup. As a boy, I kept "pet" fish in my bedroom aquariums that I'd taken on hook and line and transported home in a bucket on my bike. To no obvious ill effect. These are critters that eat hornets and wasps with relish and are always sampling drifting and swimming things by biting at them. Fish that are to be released, though, should be landed quickly to avoid lactic acid build-up, and handled as gently as possible during the landing and recovery periods. Barbless hooks are a very good thing if you are intending to release your catch.

Anyway, this is one person's opinion. Maybe worth two cents. Who knows. Bottom line, with C&R, it depends.
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Old 07-27-2005, 01:41 AM
AlaskanAtHeart AlaskanAtHeart is offline
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OK, now to show my ignorance of all the terms, LOL


A fishery? Is this just the body of water with the fish in it?

(Eric, that elusive Chinook....I REALLY want him on my plate, but he ain't biting for me, LOL )

I did some searching on the web last night about C&R, and read about the lactic acid, I'd already read about the slime coat, and as an avid aquarium person, i actually knew about that. I think I need some clarification about barbless hooks, because I think maybe I'm using the wrong kind. The barb, are we talking about the one on the long side of the hook, the one just under the point of the hook, or both? Would a barbless hook just look like a J with no extra things on it? If so, can someone tell me where to find them, a good brand, and where I can buy flies made with them? Seems like the only flies I'm finding up here all appear to be Crystal River.

For the person who said they only keep one salmon a year....maybe I'm not "into" fishing enough yet, but for me, once I catch what I want for eating, I'm done fishing. Maybe it's because of my upbringing, but I go fishing for food, and once I catch what I want (assuming I'm lucky enough to catch fish that day), then I quit fishing. (And again, I'm not judging anyone who does otherwise, that's just what I do)

As a child when I watched the bass shows with my daddy, I never understood why they'd catch those pretty fish and put them back, LOL, but now that I'm older I understand that there are people who fish as a hobby, so it makes sense.

So, give me some opinions, and then I have some more questions.

My family of 6 would willing eat fish probably 6 days out of 7, tuna is a staple in our house. I'm actually the only one who really doesn't care for fish, except tuna or salmon, the rest of them will eat any kind.

(This isn't going to happen, so no one get into an uproar, I just wnat thoughts about the ethical thing to do, because I'm just now learning about all this)

King Salmon are running here right now, the run is winding down, so there is no way this will happen this year, but maybe next it could. By law, each angler can catch one KS 20" or larger and 10 under 20" per day. Currently 5 out of 6 are able to fish for the KS, so at what point do I say we've taken enough from the water? Before I stumbled into fly fishing and this forum, I'd hoped that I, at least, could catch my per diem a couple of times to go in the freezer to eat until next year. (So far I haven't caught any, darn it)

So, how do you determine what is fair/ethical to take? Are the KS runs an exception, because they come into the rivers to spawn and then die? Honestly, with what I've spent on fishing gear to try to catch the darn things, I should have just bought them at the store, but that's another topic, LOL.

OK, back to the C&R for sport thing.......I don't have the regs here right now (they're in my vehicle, so I can refer to them when I'm fishing, because you practically need an attorney to interpret them up here), but I remember in one particular area, it is closed to fishing for Northern Pike year-round, including C&R. Now.....for me, to avoid any issues with that, I've just not fished there at all, LOL, but.....how do you avoid catching a particular fish? What does that mean? Do you just not target the NP? What happens if you catch one anyway?


Thank you to everyone who has answered, I appreciate the different perspectives, and I'm enjoying learning more about the issues facing the sport.
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  #7  
Old 07-27-2005, 03:17 AM
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flyjkol flyjkol is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlaskanAtHeart
I remember in one particular area, it is closed to fishing for Northern Pike year-round, including C&R. Now.....for me, to avoid any issues with that, I've just not fished there at all, LOL, but.....how do you avoid catching a particular fish? What does that mean? Do you just not target the NP? What happens if you catch one anyway?

This means not using 5" flies with wire leaders and claiming to be fishing for trout

but seriously, there is nothing that the law can do about this than use an honor system. They are simply trusting the anger not to intentionally fish for them, however, if you would to hook into a northern while fishing for, let's say grayling, besides having one quite a fight on your hands, you are in no trouble once so ever. Just quickly land the fish and release him as quickly as reasonably possible.

As for my beliefs on catch and release, I feel certain species of fish are okay to be taken at certain times. Such as a local lake that sstocks trout in in the fall. Omaha lakes are no place for anything resembling a cold water fish and game and parks surveys suggest that less than 1 in 100 of theses perfectly healthy 13-15 inch rainbows will survive the summer. The whole point of these fish is so they can be caught and eaten. Also, species like catfish and various panfish I like to eat, because in most of the waters around me these fish are easily stunted and are still very good fish to eat.
On the other hand you develope a sort of respect for certain fish, in my case bass of any sort and northern pike. These fish are way to valuable to a fishery as it is and the removal of limits of these fish consistantly can damage a body of water, plus there are plenty of better tasting fish out there.

I guess the whole basic idea is that take what you will eat, (don't limit for the sake of a limit) and return the fish to the water that can really affect the predator prey balance. Or leave leave some of the larger fish for future generations. However I do realize the C&R of salmon can be very debatable.
Hope that helps....
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Old 07-27-2005, 11:16 AM
ashbourn ashbourn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyjkol
As for my beliefs on catch and release, I feel certain species of fish are okay to be taken at certain times. Such as a local lake that sstocks trout in in the fall. Omaha lakes are no place for anything resembling a cold water fish and game and parks surveys suggest that less than 1 in 100 of theses perfectly healthy 13-15 inch rainbows will survive the summer. The whole point of these fish is so they can be caught and eaten.

If 1 in 100 will survive the summer they should not be stocking them. It does have affects on the body of water but it also cruel for the fish.

As for bardless hooks, not many places sell flies that are barbless. All brands sell barbless hook like Mustads 94945. You can bend the bards down by crushing them with a pair of pliers. It will leave a little bump but that is alot better then a point.
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Old 07-27-2005, 01:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashbourn
If 1 in 100 will survive the summer they should not be stocking them. It does have affects on the body of water but it also cruel for the fish.
The demmand for these fish for ice fisherman is so great that the state feels that it must stock for an overall increase in revenue. I also have wondered about the actual numbers myself and, I'm sure tthese numbers reflect all the fish taken out prior to summer also. Still thats alot of fish.....
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