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JBMasterAngler

Catch & Release Sheephead

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JBMasterAngler

Full swing river fishing is still aways away, but I thought I'd post this now since it's fresh in my mind. I've been fishing the rivers for years and I'm getting sick of watching people catching sheephead and intentionally killing them by throwing them on shore or against rocks. I'd like to point out that littering the shoreline with a fish of any species is ILLEGAL! Also, what is the point of doing that? I myself don't particularly care for sheephead because of they're tendency to swallow the hook, but I release them as quickly and as painlessly as I would a trophy bass. Sheephead are almost as numerous as carp, but unlike carp they play a very important and valuable role in river management. They are one of the few native species of fish that regularly eat zebra mussels, meaning they may be our only natural defense against those exotics. Also, and more importantly, young sheephead are an important forage fish for walleye, northern pike, and catfish. So next time you catch a sheephead, just put it back in the river.

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"another IT GUY"

JB, I totally agree with you!!! Any fish you catch and you dont' intend to keep please please just release them and i dont' mean kill them than release them. It really iritates me when i see people do this! How could we solve this issue?? Any thoughts?? Anyone? confused.gif

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JBMasterAngler

I'd like to see the DNR put more of an emphasis on the topic in the rules & regulations. Maybe even at some of the more popular shorefishing areas post a sign saying it's illegal to dispose of fish on the shore, and post the fine too. Could help.

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walleyecheeks

When I was younger my uncle would take to the river. He always told to kill those sheeps. As I got older I thought why? There was no logical reason for doing this. Thats true that walleyes eat sheeps. About 3yrs ago I got a 27 inch eye and it had about a 2lb sheep stuck in its mouth. So the only fish I kill now is the ones that go in the frying pan!

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TRZ

True enough, but it may be a factor that the sheep head have no predator once they get over a few pounds, there are WAY too many of them. Don't you think it is wise to kill some of them because no one keeps them? i have caught well over 100 of them on some trips that does not seem healthy to have that many of them to me. confused.gif

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JBMasterAngler

I disagree, I think the only populations of fish they could affect are carp or suckers. Besides, about 95% of all the metro lakes have an over abundance of "potato chip" sunfish, I don't see people throwing them on shore.

I also don't think there is an overpopulation of sheephead in the river...there's definitely alot, I just think it's a case of they are very willing biters. I can't say for sure about the mississippi or red rivers, but I read that over 3/4 of all fish in the st. croix and it's major tributaries are redhorse. So as many sheephead as there may be, there's always more of something else.

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shale

I also release every sheep I catch. They grunt now and then but they don't scream. grin.gif

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TrollerX

I sure hope we are not talking about this in a few weeks. Maybe, we could get a handle on the people that keep a limit of Eyes on every outing or folks that dump those 22 inch beauties into the well before we concern ourselves with the ever important Sheep! I think it will be a few days before we run out of those. One other thing to keep in mind is that once a fish has been handled, snapped by the camera 3 times in multiple poses, and admired for 5 minutes, you may as well keep it. It isn't going to live. It was a tough year on the mighty Croix last year. I don't think it was because too many Sheepies saw the pitch and run release.

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Walli1

I'm not to worried about the sheephead, I think they will be just fine. Eyes,saugers is where the concern should lay, proper care is very important and if that 20 cent hook is swalllowed don't dig it out, please cut the line, if you have a shortage of hooks send me a message and I'll get some hooks to you. Catch and release is a very important part of fishing, I love to eat fish, my whole family does but I only keep eyes and saugers in the slot I defined as eaters 15- 17 everything else goes back unless they won't make it! Sheephead have there place but I just can't bring myself to worry about them or even give them much thought!

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JBMasterAngler

Isn't the minimum size limit for walleyes on the croix 16 inches (it might be 15, not 100% sure)? Hopefully nobody is keeping any that are too small.

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TrollerX

Eyes are 15 inches on the Croix. Sheep can be taken at any size though. I hear they are quite tasty with a plate full of fried taters. Maybe, that is only if you smoke them with some of that special catfish sauce! I hear some river rats count them in tournies now and then.

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croixeyes

Shale...I heard rumor that you are a master sheep herder grin.gif.Heres a good recipe,carefully fillet the sheephead and soak the fillets in milk for 24 hours,then throw them in the garbage and go to the store get a steak.Just kidding for those who may be offended,Ive never eaten sheephead so I couldnt tell you what they taste like,Turk probably knows though.When I get tired of hooking sheep I start trolling,they still hit cranks but not as often as live bait.

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JBMasterAngler

I've caught them on EVERYTHING!!! They are however less likely to swallow a minnow than they are a nightcrawler.

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john.wells

this is the year that I will try sheepshead. I have heard that they are excellent table fare, they are freshwater drum and are related to several saltwater species that are much sought after, such as redfish, and are reportedly better than most of the stuff you find for sale at the store. From what I gather, they are easy to fillet, have flaky white flesh, and are plentiful and easy to catch (which we all know). I will post results.

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catflisher

years ago, when i used to take care of the launch at beanies (1987...go twins!)i used to fillet sheepskins and feed them to the three cats we had down there.the meat was firm,not at all greasy or nasty,pure white and it did make me wonder..never did fry some up for myself,but that will change this year.i would think that spring caught sheepers would be just fine..after all people turn thier noses up at bullheads,(muddy tasting?,eat them in the spring or soak them in milk overnight)perch(wormy,sometimes that is the case)northerns(too many bones,don't eat the bones)etc.I think the only fishes i can think of that are definatly not edible would be dogflish and gar(Terry?)

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TrollerX

Seriously. You might want to think that through just a little. You can survive for 3 weeks without food. I think, maybe, on day 20, I would take a gander at eatin a Sheepy..

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tunrevir

Don't know about the old bowfin but I do know that some of them cajun alligator bits you get down south are just gar battered and deepfried. They eat them down south and you may have too if you ever tried alligator, and didn't know the source of where the meat came from. Kinda tastes like chicken if I recall but with the distinct aftertaste of fishiness! grin.gifsmirk.gif

Tunrevir~

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croixeyes

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM................Mudpuppy crazy.gifcrazy.gif

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FINGRIN

Hey guys I eat sheepheads, they are very tasty you just fillet and after you take the skin off you will see the reddish colored meat left on the fillet, just make sure to get all of that off and you will have good eats. I was a skeptic until I was shown this about the lowly sheephead.mmmmmmmm

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tunrevir

MMMMMMMMM, MUDPUPPY! TASTES LIKE...............striped bass with a hint of chicken. grin.gifgrin.gif

Tunrevir~

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lotsofish

If you're eating it, don't call it Sheepshead. It's called Freshwater Drum. Sounds classy, like something a nice restaurant would charge a lot for.

But, if you are fishing 'eyes, you hook one... "Oh this feels like it's a good one... Arrggh, it's another #$%@# SHEEPSHEAD!"

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Turk

I think they sell freshwater drum in Cub? Maybe it's another drum fish?

Sheeps are the firmest fish I've filleted and white, pure white... That's all I'll own up to!

Turk

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JBMasterAngler

I'm not sure, but isn't redfish in the drum family as well? A sheephead definitely has good genes anyway.

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tunrevir

I too had a good pair of jeans once but when the battery acid spilled on them they became "fashionable" jeans then after they were weathered a bit more and worked over they became "old jeans" and then after awhile they became "cutoff jeans" but man if I had "jeans" like those I guess I'd never eat them, that'd be like eating my shor, errh, ah jeans!

Tunrevir~ grin.gif

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Grant

Quote:

I too had a good pair of jeans once but when the battery acid spilled on them they became "fashionable" jeans then after they were weathered a bit more and worked over they became "old jeans" and then after awhile they became "cutoff jeans" but man if I had "jeans" like those I guess I'd never eat them, that'd be like eating my shor, errh, ah jeans!

Tunrevir~
grin.gif


*groan* crazy.gif

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