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MnSportsman

I'm puttin this post here for opinions on what is considered a keeper size.( I'm talking for a meal, not trophy size)
The reason why I'm asking is that I have not fished for trout further south than my area(N.Goodhue County) since 1994., & do not know the recent conditions well enough for the area that I used to fish primarily for trout.(Whitewater South to Caledonia & then West towards Hwy 63.) The times have changed there due to flooding, & pressure, etc. I had no problem prior to '94 in finding fish in the 12-16"range (personal best was 19.5" rainbow; Very nice, & it went back in the water BTW!) & caught many in the 8-12" range that went back to grow. Thru the years that I did fish in that large area, we generally kept fish in the 12-14 to eat, & put smaller & larger than that slot back. Sort of our own personal rules for not pressuring the fish population( be it wrong or not, that was our rule.)But, as I have not actively fished in that area since then, I'm hoping for some insight from you that fish it more regularly in the recent years. The population of trout here in my area is strong, & even though I do not fish for trout actively here in my "back-yard", there are still many trout of that size flourishing here. This area is not stocked anymore,to my knowledge, although the local sportsman club did for many years.
Note:
A 4#+ was caught not 75 yds from my house last year.(I know the guy & he KEPT IT TO EAT! Man was I P.O.'d. I told him so too! He said."Tough crap! My fish.." frown.gif (Gene is a good guy, but his views on fish & game are almost opposite of mine.))
Anyway sorry ta ramble... wink.gif
Share your views....I'll be lookin'for "em!
smile.gif

------------------
Good Luck & Watch your bobber!
MnSportsman
Proud to be a member in good standing, of the
"Church of the Divine Wilderness"!
wink.gif

[This message has been edited by MnSportsman (edited 01-26-2001).]

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Jim W

Hello,
I think from personal experience the smaller trout 9-11 inches are by far the best to eat. Catching and eating fish this size will not affect the over-all stream trout habitat! It's when we keep the trout that are more likely to spawn 12-16 inchers and spawn with healthy results, will we start to see changes in our favorite bodies of water!
Here I go again! 15 years ago I use to frequent the South Branch of the Root river! Over the years this section has been over-run!(South of the Carimona Bridge) I couldn't tell you exactly why, but back then I could almost guarantee myself a 16+ trout every time out. Not any more! However, I haven't fished that section for a couple of years, so it might have improved.

When discussing this issue with one of SE Mn's fly fishing guru's, Wayne Bartz, He expressed that in response to C&R and the DNR's attention to streams, he believes that the average size and # of trout has noticeably increased from 15-20 years ago. Keep in mind, he specifically fishes by casting flies!!!

Getting back to the question, smaller tastes better!!!!!!!! Jim W

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MnSportsman

Jim, Glad to hear from you! Over the last few days, I have been thinking about this a lot. I've discussed it with a few friends I know & they are also curious to know the conditions down in that region. None of us have been done there for a long time & were hoping that the stocking program & the envirnment work that the sportsman clubs & T.Unlmtd. had done was helping the "white bellies" turn into "red bellies".(Hope the floding last year didn't kill too many & ruin the work that ws done!) If Mr. Bartz thinks the size & #'s have increased(I assume due to stocks turning native & reproducing well.) then the fishing that we enjoyed should be coming around again. In part the # & size gain could be due to the size of the fish being stocked too.There's a lot of variables to consider here, huh? I see your point about keeping the smaller ones for the pan & letting the larger ones grow & reproduce. On the other hand, (I hope this wouldn't happen!)I wonder about the effect that the stocking of larger
fish, if they are larger than before, doesn't stress the environment & have an adverse effect on the now "native/prev. stocked" fish? Lack of food due to #'s not allowing the fish to get larger, I guess is what I'm trying to ask.
<Geez , this one has got us going ,Eh? smile.gif >
'Nuff said for now. smile.gif This is great, I luv it!

------------------
Good Luck & Watch your bobber!
MnSportsman
Proud to be a member in good standing, of the
"Church of the Divine Wilderness"!
;)

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DARK30

HEYO!

I DON'T KEEP UM ANYMORE BUT I ALWAYS FIGURED THROW THE SHAKERS BACK 11-12" AND LESS,EAT (OR GIVE AWAY)THE ONES UP TO ABOUT 16-17", AND RELEASE ANYTHING OVER BUT THAT SEAMS TO BE "OLD DAYS".LAST YEAR I NOTICED THE SHAKERS WERE ALMOST THE ONLY THING COMIN OUT. THESE FISH SHOULD BE RESPECTABLE THIS YEAR THOUGH. MY BEST FISH WAS 24" (RELEASED)
UPSTREAM FROM THE OLD BARN RESORT.
(that is 24.5" sorry randy!)
WET NETS!

------------------
cast,cast,cast,cast......

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J.A.Say.Tree

THIS IS GREAT!!!!!!!! I can't hardly believe all this chattin' goin' on! It's super to finally hear from the SE fisherman. I knew they were out there!

I whole heartedly agree with the catch & release practice for OUR trout. Each fish is such a beautiful resource, and certainly worth catching numerous times. On that note, last year I had a little affair with a pretty decent browner that I nicknamed "the mutant." She had been stabbed just above the tail by most likely a heron, and her growth was stunted (lengthwise that is). This was a 18-incher in a 14-inchers body if you can picture that. Anyway, I ended up catching her on 3 separate occasions within 2 weeks until one of the floods we had must have moved her along. Each time was equally a great fight, and I hope I can somehow run into her again this spring!

Anyway, although I release nearly all trout I catch, I am a huge fan of throwing them on the weber every once in a while. However, one thing that I have learned over the years is that nothing beats a fresh trout for cooking. I don’t care what anyone says, a trout you pull out of the freezer after more than a month can be down right disgustingly fishy tasting. YUCK!

Now that we’ve hopefully persuaded the freezer fillers, I want to tackle this smaller is better eating deal. I have had my share of different sized trout on the grill, and I gaurentee you that I can cook you two 8-inchers to taste just as good as a 16-incher. That is if (and this is a big IF) they are native trout or have at least been weaned of the pellets for a year. I know of a few streams where the natural reproduction is phenomenal, so when I get a hunger for the grill, I head there to harvest a couple nice native 11/12-inchers. I know I’m in for some tasty treats & I also know I’m not harming the resource.

This brings me to my last point. Certain streams, rivers, creeks, etc…, are more apt to grow large fish. It is in these waters that it is even more crucial to release the larger fish (if you want to someday get a trophy). When a trout reaches a certain size (I’d say 13-14 inches), they change they’re diet & begin attacking larger meals such as chubs, suckers, crayfish, other trout, etc…(ingredients that grow big browners!). When they’re 15-16 inches, they really start packing it in. When they’re 19-20, they can eat a half dozen 6-inch chubs in one setting. Get the picture? The bigger they get, the faster they grow! That’s why the big ones need to go back. So they can strap on the feed bag and turn into a fish of a lifetime.

JA!

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Guest

I agree with keeping trout less than 12" to eat. I personally shrink the range to 10" - 11". Personal preference .... Splitting hairs ? Maybe .... Anyway, I'm a flyrodder myself and I think overall Mr. Bartz is right the average size of the trout is up, but not everywhere and I think it's partly due to some streams being made more accessible and just an increase in the number of people fishing for trout. Especially early in the season when the "Meat" fishermen are out to get their freezers stocked. The ones who always keep their limit and usually fish in groups. Another thing affecting trout size is people not adhering to the special regs on certain streams that are designed to increase the average size and or natural population of the trout in the stream. I've seen people drowning worms in single barbless hook artificial bait only areas,they left when they saw me coming. I guess I am a little off the subject, but less face it, if each of us needs do his/her part in helping to preserve our fishing resources so that our kids and grandkids in my case can enjoy fishing as we do.

Hey .... Smaller is better !!

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MnSportsman

Thnx for the replies! I do want to emphasize the point that I am not saying to keep for for the pan, fish that that are over 12". I am trying to say that when I was fishing down that way more regularly,1975-1994, those lengths I listed for keeping(12-14"), did not seem out of line for those times. As I sit here I just held up a regular sheet of paper & realized that since the distances are 8-1/2 x 11" that I still don't consider myself out of line.So, I'll trim down my 14" top end(for eating) to 12", but I can't see myself keeping a trout 8"long..Don't get ticked off at me!! I'll keep listening/reading here.

Give me time ta think, will ya... wink.gif LOL

I'm trying to see if I can change my thinkin'& I'm not able to convince myself yet, because of the memories of before. Man , We caught a lot of fish that were larger than 12"....
That's why I posted in the first place.Maybe its 'time to re-evaluate. Thanks for helpin'me guys! smile.gif keep up the good posts!

------------------
Good Luck & Watch your bobber!
MnSportsman
Proud to be a member in good standing, of the
"Church of the Divine Wilderness"!
;)

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Guest

I agree MnSportsman 8" is too small ... I mean maybe .... No .... I can't think quite that small either ! What I do is I only try to keep 11" fish. I carry one of those green fish bags(creel) with the spring closing top. It has a ruler printed on it. I just measure 'em quick.

Tight Lines

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