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JBMasterAngler

Catch & Release Sheephead

9 posts in this topic

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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Great post. I agree with you 100%. Release any fish that you do not want to eat. ~hogsucker

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In all honesty the mortality rate in sheephead might be greater than in other species because of their tendency to swallow the hook, but at least if you put them back in the river you eliminate the stinky shoreline factor. Besides, the turtles will eat them up overnight.

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Sometimes cut sheepies are a hot ticket for channel kitties.

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I think all sheephead should die. dont they eat game fish eggs? I f so I say kill em. im a river rat i dont kill them myself but see many people who do. My buddie bottle caps there heads and gets the hook right out. anyway if u dont want to catch em dont fish the rivers. Do they eat game fish eggs?

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All fish eat other fish its part of the way the cycle works. Probably should kill all the big pike as long as we are at it becuase I have seen them eat walleye before and we can't have that can we.

Sheepshead are a natural part of the river, killing them will more then likely have more negative impacts then positive.

I guess some people just like to play god with the river since they apparently know whats good and whats bad for the river.

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That's a very good point. With the exception of carp and zebra mussels (because they're exotics) every fish plays a role in the balance of life in a river system. And contrary to popular belief, a sheephead's role is pretty darn important!

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I also think part of the issue is that it used to be illegal to throw back carp and some other "undesirable" non-gamefish. However it isn't true anymore.

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I think the rule should be more noticeable in the rules & regulations.

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