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fisherman-andy

Keeping bigger fish wrong?

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fisherman-andy

There seems to be alot of debate about how fish is being kept, what size, kind, etc...

So I thought I bring up this long overdue issue of what to keep and not to keep.

I guess all of us can agree keeping less than your limit is good. We can also say keeping the legal size limit is good to. But what about undersize and oversize?

I believe in letting undersize fish go, and should'nt be kept in the first place due to regulation. Those smaller fish is definately going to help out in the future fishing. But what about the larger fish?

Is keeping a larger fish wrong? I think yes and no. I think a fish that is way too large should always be let go, for instance a 35+inch walleye or 50+inch muskie or an 8-10lb bass. The downside to these fish is they are way too old and in many cases unable to compete in breeding. There are people that are going to keep one, and it's not going to hurt.

Okay here comes the hard part. Fish that are in their prime.. like say a 20+inch eye, or 5lb bass can still be a very strong contender & breeder. We can easily say this is where the fish population can be hurt if too much is kept.

For example my theory is if we are keeping the 15-18inch eyes and letting the rest go could mean a very good fishery for years to come. It's not rocket science that larger fish produce stronger & bigger offspring. That means plenty of trophy fish in the 19-30inch range. Here is where my theory will sound kinda off-beat or fishy, but I think eyes over 30inches can be taken for trophy if one wants. Anything above 35inches should be released simply because it is just way too old and big.

I know not everyone will agree with me and that this is just my opinion that I am sharing with everyone. You could say different species will have different results. You also have to consider the size or type of body of water, or river.

But really letting all the big ones go isn't all that great when you really think about it. It's letting the great big ones go that make it such a desire or sport.

Anyone feel free to add comments or info...
I would like to know how this issue stands among us.


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ozzy

For myself I keep smaller pan fish instead of larger ones, let the large ones spawn.(unless it is red lake crappies}
Walleyes any thing over 4 pounds goes back.
I only keep fish if there going to the table that night.
this year I will keep some northern to learn how to get the y bones out and see if they taste as good as everyone says.

sometimes not keeping fish does more harm than good, to many fish not enough prey.
just my 2 cents.

------------------
crazy about fishing

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Trailblazin

You state: For example my theory is if we are keeping the 15-18inch eyes and letting the rest go could mean a very good fishery for years to come. It's not rocket science that larger fish produce stronger & bigger offspring. That means plenty of trophy fish in the 19-30inch range. Here is where my theory will sound kinda off-beat or fishy, but I think eyes over 30inches can be taken for trophy if one wants. Anything above 35inches should be released simply because it is just way too old and big.

Not a bad theory. Here are Mille Lacs Regs:

May 15, 2004: Anglers may keep walleye up to 20 inches, with one trophy over 28 inches in the four fish limit. All walleye from 20 to 28 inches must be released.

July 15, 2004: Anglers may keep walleye up to 22 inches, with one trophy over 28 inches in the four fish limit. All walleye from 22 to 28 inches must be released.

This topic will be debated for many years.
I agree that you must take some fish out and you also must leave some. Use good judgement! Bring home a meal.....Better yet - let the trophies grow.

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little buddy

ozzy... why the exception for red lake crappies? just curious

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ozzy

Little buddy
The exception for red lake crappie is most of the large crappies are from the 1995 year class and I read that 75% will die from old age, and they are the best tasting fish I've ever had.

------------------
crazy about fishing

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Abyss

I also believe in catch and release, but I always keep a couple panfish for dinner. I can understand letting a trophy go, but for me and others like me who are not great fishermen by any means, catching a trophy is a once in a lifetime deal. I can understand some people keeping them, but I personally would let the trophy go (after many photos hehe) since its not really healthy to eat and I dont feel stuffing it and putting it on my mantle would do any good. In my opinion, keeping it or letting it go really wouldnt affect fishing in general since it is a rare occurance to catch a trophy.

Taking your limits all the time will hurt the fishing in the future, but really nothing can be done to the people who do that since its perfectly legal. All we can do is help educate everybody about the problem of doing it and maybe lobby to have tighter regs.

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mnwild

I was going to ask a similar question about what size fish are ok to keep. I catch alot of Northern's all in the 16"-20" range maybe a few lbs 2 or 3, would you consider this a small fish to keep. Panfish and Bass I have a general idea of what is small, the Northerns are what I have in question.
Any info is appreciated

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pikemania

In my opinion the 2-3lbs pike is the perfect size to keep. If you know how to take the y bone out it is a great fish to eat and you are keeping the population of pike in the lake strong by releasing the breeding stock. Most lakes I have been to in Canada the slot limit on pike is 25-36 inches with one over 36. So the 5lb to 12lb (approximately) pike are beeing allowed to spawn and keep anglers from Minnesota coming back year after year.

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Juan Grande

I actually caught the biggest bass of my life yesterday morning (almost 6lbs) and I threw it back. I didn't even consider keeping it. I took a few pictures and released it.

My uncle was with and couldn't believe I put it back. He was keeping every bass he caught including several nice fish over 3 lbs. I tried to convince him that those 3 pounders are important spawners and that the smaller fish taste better. To him, bigger fish=bigger fillets.

I guess it's just a matter of personal preference.

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pjfweb

I used to always think... bigger fish = bigger fillets... which of course is completely true. Personally I don't keep the fish I catch that often, but when I do.. it's going to be based completely on taste and almost always, bigger fish = nastier taste... especially when it comes to bass.

For instance, I caught three bass Saturday morning, I kept two (first two fish I kept this year) and they were both 12"... the 3 pounder went back in the lake.

~Patrick

[This message has been edited by pjfweb (edited 06-07-2004).]

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Beef46

I disagree that taking your limit is a bad thing. The DNR is constantly doing surveys and limits are set based on these surveys. If taking your limit was a "bad thing", the limits would be reduced. That being said what about the size within those limits? Let's talk walleyes. Every lake is different. Personally, I only like to keep walleyes from 15-18 inches. Let the smaller ones grow, let the bigger ones make more babies.

Everyone has their opinion on this and this is just my .02 cents.

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Roosterslayer05

andy- you say release the fish between 19-30 inches. Thats good for some lakes but other lakes its fine and wont hurt the population like Mille Lacs, LOW, Superior, Michigan, Erie ect.

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