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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Now, I know a title like the one above can cause quite a debate about the health and long-term quality of our fisheries here in the state of Michigan, and in fact, has been a highly argued point for much time now across the country. In some cases, we rely on fishermen to take fish from the population. It balances the predator: prey ratio and can lead to a healthier ecosystem in general. This is particularly true with Lake Michigan and some of the introduced species of fish. However, because that pot of coffee is far richer than the one I am choosing to sip from, we will leave the topic of catch and release fishing in the Great Lakes for another conversation.

I'm talking about resident Brown Trout, and for that matter, any trout that does not migrate into the big lake during the summer months. The trout that rely on the single nymph being carried through a stretch of stream by an unexpected change in current. The ones who retreat to the deepest parts of holes and sit immediately behind riffles during the steamy Summer months just to uptake the last bit of oxygen dissolved in the warming creeks. Getting a picture of the fish I'm discussing? These fish are delicate. Brown trout, when speaking of trout species in general, are actually quite tolerant when it comes to change in water temperature and dissolved oxygen content and such (which happen to be related). But one thing that no species of trout can handle is over-fishing and mishandling.

I'm going to start by talking a quick second about the systems this impacts the greatest. I'm going to call these systems "closed," just for reference purposes. Now, when addressing streams, rivers, and creeks, we think moving bodies of water. Those aren't closed right? Well, most of them at some point make their way into a larger river or body of water, such as Lake Michigan. Now, take that same river, creek, or stream and throw a dam in the center of it. Now, the flow, though interrupted yet not blocked, is quite limited. In many cases, the fish though, are blocked completely from traveling to the larger body of water. Continue thinking about this same stream and for the sake of an image, think of it's origin being a swamp with natural springs (we have many of these exact situations here in Michigan!). So, to sum things up, we has a stream with a dam at one end blocking nearly all passage of fish (especially from the lake to the creek) and at the other end, a small swamp with fresh spring water pouring from the earth. This is the "closed" system I am talking about. The trout that live in this system thrive on the food confined to this area (the insects, the sculpin, the darters, etc).

These fish, rely on a good food source or they die. They rely on a cold enough temperature of water or they die. They rely on the water being unpolluted or they die. They rely on overall mineral content to be low enough or they die. These fish are DELICATE. They are just as beautiful as they are precious. So we seek them. This is where I get to the point of my post. These fish have a lot of unseen stresses and impacts on their overall health. It's our duty (if we desire to catch healthy, large, trout) to treat them well. Especially if we catch and release them. If we keep them, the intent is to eat, which is better than a poor release which results in a dead fish lying on the creek bed going to waste. We need to watch our "take" from these closed systems too, because in many of our creeks, a couple of large spawning-age trout can be the backbone of the population for the entire community. Taking too many from a stream can really kill a trout stream. Alright, enough ranting about what we need to do, let's talk basics. If you are releasing a fish, but you feel the need to take a picture (I do this all the time, it's fun!), here are a couple of pointers to help the long-term health of the fish...


- Wet your hands prior to touching trout (This is especially important because their slime acts as a protective barrier and without it, they are susceptible to disease)
- Focus on minimizing time out-of-water (Leave the fish in the net swimming for a moment to continue a flow of water through the gills; water is life!)
- Support the trout by grasping the tail with one hand and balancing the weight of fish under the stomach with a second hand temporarily if you need a picture (I've been told even this should be dodged).
- Pinch barbed hooks to minimize damage to the lips of the fish (Can you imagine tearing a barb through your face?)
- Make certain the fish is doing well prior to letting him/her go. Letting them sit a moment and gather the energy they need makes a world of difference in the release.
-Make the experience quick. This decreases the stress of the fish and they are more likely to bounce-back with limited time captured.

Last, enjoy trout fishing. This can be the most rewarding and peaceful kind of fishing a person can do. Enjoy the sights, the sounds, and the abundance of beauty nature has to offer us.

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ADD ANY IDEAS/ EXPERIENCES YOU HAVE TO THIS LIST. WE ALL WANT HEALTHY FISH. WE LOVE TO FISH! HOPE THIS HELPS SOMEONE WHO IS GETTING INTO TROUT FISHING. THANKS FOR READING!
Water Shorts People in nature Outdoor recreation Watercourse
Water People in nature Outdoor recreation Shorts Grass
Water Water resources Ecoregion Plant Natural landscape
 

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I like your post, and I do release some fish when I am fishing. If a fish is hooked too badly or too deep and it is injured I keep it. I also use the smallest possible hooks to fish with when using bait. Many times I just cut the line leaving the fish hooked. The hook will rust away or work its way loose in a short period of time.
 

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Play the trout quickly. Get it to your hand as fast as possible. Decrease the time fighting the trout as much as possible. Don't use a net at all if releasing a trout w/out taking a pic. If you do use a net, avoid the nylon-sting nets and use one like the one in the above pics. If releasing the trout with no pics, try to not even touch the fish; reach down, grasp the hook, and dislodge your offering asap.
 

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Now, I know a title like the one above can cause quite a debate about the health and long-term quality of our fisheries here in the state of Michigan, and in fact, has been a highly argued point for much time now across the country. In some cases, we rely on fishermen to take fish from the population. It balances the predator: prey ratio and can lead to a healthier ecosystem in general. This is particularly true with Lake Michigan and some of the introduced species of fish. However, because that pot of coffee is far richer than the one I am choosing to sip from, we will leave the topic of catch and release fishing in the Great Lakes for another conversation.

I'm talking about resident Brown Trout, and for that matter, any trout that does not migrate into the big lake during the summer months. The trout that rely on the single nymph being carried through a stretch of stream by an unexpected change in current. The ones who retreat to the deepest parts of holes and sit immediately behind riffles during the steamy Summer months just to uptake the last bit of oxygen dissolved in the warming creeks. Getting a picture of the fish I'm discussing? These fish are delicate. Brown trout, when speaking of trout species in general, are actually quite tolerant when it comes to change in water temperature and dissolved oxygen content and such (which happen to be related). But one thing that no species of trout can handle is over-fishing and mishandling.

I'm going to start by talking a quick second about the systems this impacts the greatest. I'm going to call these systems "closed," just for reference purposes. Now, when addressing streams, rivers, and creeks, we think moving bodies of water. Those aren't closed right? Well, most of them at some point make their way into a larger river or body of water, such as Lake Michigan. Now, take that same river, creek, or stream and throw a dam in the center of it. Now, the flow, though interrupted yet not blocked, is quite limited. In many cases, the fish though, are blocked completely from traveling to the larger body of water. Continue thinking about this same stream and for the sake of an image, think of it's origin being a swamp with natural springs (we have many of these exact situations here in Michigan!). So, to sum things up, we has a stream with a dam at one end blocking nearly all passage of fish (especially from the lake to the creek) and at the other end, a small swamp with fresh spring water pouring from the earth. This is the "closed" system I am talking about. The trout that live in this system thrive on the food confined to this area (the insects, the sculpin, the darters, etc).

These fish, rely on a good food source or they die. They rely on a cold enough temperature of water or they die. They rely on the water being unpolluted or they die. They rely on overall mineral content to be low enough or they die. These fish are DELICATE. They are just as beautiful as they are precious. So we seek them. This is where I get to the point of my post. These fish have a lot of unseen stresses and impacts on their overall health. It's our duty (if we desire to catch healthy, large, trout) to treat them well. Especially if we catch and release them. If we keep them, the intent is to eat, which is better than a poor release which results in a dead fish lying on the creek bed going to waste. We need to watch our "take" from these closed systems too, because in many of our creeks, a couple of large spawning-age trout can be the backbone of the population for the entire community. Taking too many from a stream can really kill a trout stream. Alright, enough ranting about what we need to do, let's talk basics. If you are releasing a fish, but you feel the need to take a picture (I do this all the time, it's fun!), here are a couple of pointers to help the long-term health of the fish...


- Wet your hands prior to touching trout (This is especially important because their slime acts as a protective barrier and without it, they are susceptible to disease)
- Focus on minimizing time out-of-water (Leave the fish in the net swimming for a moment to continue a flow of water through the gills; water is life!)
- Support the trout by grasping the tail with one hand and balancing the weight of fish under the stomach with a second hand temporarily if you need a picture (I've been told even this should be dodged).
- Pinch barbed hooks to minimize damage to the lips of the fish (Can you imagine tearing a barb through your face?)
- Make certain the fish is doing well prior to letting him/her go. Letting them sit a moment and gather the energy they need makes a world of difference in the release.
-Make the experience quick. This decreases the stress of the fish and they are more likely to bounce-back with limited time captured.

Last, enjoy trout fishing. This can be the most rewarding and peaceful kind of fishing a person can do. Enjoy the sights, the sounds, and the abundance of beauty nature has to offer us.

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ADD ANY IDEAS/ EXPERIENCES YOU HAVE TO THIS LIST. WE ALL WANT HEALTHY FISH. WE LOVE TO FISH! HOPE THIS HELPS SOMEONE WHO IS GETTING INTO TROUT FISHING. THANKS FOR READING! View attachment 198724 View attachment 198725 View attachment 198726
Great advice and beautiful pictures. Looks exactly like a stream running through my property.

Water Plant Plant community Ecoregion Fluvial landforms of streams


Love those "Michigan Waders" your wearing.............all of my trout fishing has been done with them, with the addition of a pair of tennis shoes (one snag too many in my feet).

Steve
 

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HAHA! nice. The stream you are picturing there looks similar to a couple of places I have visited. You from Kalamazoo area by chance?
Live in Central Michigan (St Louis), but property is in eastern Mason County.

Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Good post. One thing to remember though, one person's waste is another's treasure. No fish that dies in a river system goes to waste, ever seen a fish carcass that isn't being devoured by something. That energy goes right back to the river system.
This is true, it either becomes part of the detritus on the river bottom or food for a turtle or other creatures. However, it probably isn't the best practice for me to promote that activity. :) Great point though! It's amazing how nature works!
 

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Donate some time or some money to help restore or preserve these beautiful places. I helped with stream habit building and tree planting as well as river clean ups. All very rewarding!
Very good advice, and very rewarding. I, too have participated in stream restoration, tree planting, working with farmers to leave buffer zones, reduce cattle crossings, etc. I belong to the Sand Creek Watershed Committee & the Grand River Watershed Committee. Yes, very rewarding indded. Thanks to all who give their valuble time to stream & habitat projects. When it comes to any stream, the more wood in the water, the better, "WOOD IS GOOD!!!"
 

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Is there a certain water temp that people should look to avoid fishing? I don't think many people think about this for many types of fish. 80 is the cut off for Muskies, many people still continue to fish and they are simply killing their released fish.

Even a delicate fish can be very hearty in cold water.
 

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Is there a certain water temp that people should look to avoid fishing? I don't think many people think about this for many types of fish. 80 is the cut off for Muskies, many people still continue to fish and they are simply killing their released fish.

Even a delicate fish can be very hearty in cold water.
I took the 70* Pledge a number of years ago, before I knew it existed. But mine is The 65* Pledge. It isn't that I won't fish for Trout (or Steelhead) in water above 65*. I just keep the fish I catch, and if I keep a limit, I am done. You've heard of C&R? Catch & Release. I've witnessed R&D too many times - release, and die. I'm not real worried about Crayfish going hungry.

http://www.70degreepledge.org/

In Alaska, if a fish is removed from the water, it is considered a dead fish - period. If you are caught with even a photo of a caught fish that is out of season, you are liable for prosecution. That's why so see so many pics of trophy fish, where they are held with the belly of the fish still in the water.
 

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Hemostats are my friend in trout waters. Roll out most hooks in an instant and a fish not overly exerted boogies away quicklike.
No pics ordinarily for me, but nothing against them.
Sun is considered too. Can be hard on the eyes.
When convenient.. fish are unhooked in my shadow.
I've killed one fish from a favorite open stretch during vulnerable temps a few different times on an open system but even an open system is still finite. As are it's residents.
The point of considering a closed systems fish's vulnerability is understood though.
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Is there a certain water temp that people should look to avoid fishing? I don't think many people think about this for many types of fish. 80 is the cut off for Muskies, many people still continue to fish and they are simply killing their released fish.

Even a delicate fish can be very hearty in cold water.
That's actually a great point Corey. Depending upon the species of trout, there is a different temperature that is safe for even those catching and releasing. During the warm summer months, lots of trout vacate the warmer waters, and move to deeper and cooler areas if possible. However, those that are unable to do so, or are limited in ability to "escape" the warmth, have to deal with lowered activity, which leads to stress and a struggle in the feeding department. Because trout are quite delicate fish, and rely on so many different factors, it is very risky to fish waters that are "borderline" temperature creeks or streams in the summer. Water temps get around 70 (for brown trout) and the fish begin to slow and are less active. They begin feeding at only "opportune" times like high water, or at night to utilize less energy by surprising prey. Other trout can't survive in these temperatures and either die off, or retreat to areas where maybe a freshwater spring is located, or downstream from a confluence with a cooler body of water. We should dodge areas of question during the summer and do our best to fish the cooler waters in order to sustain population. Typically, the areas that get warmer in the summer produce a smaller overall "mature" fish and aren't as likely to hold as many big trout. Another reason for dodging the water. Hit these areas in the spring and late fall right at the opener or a last try before season close.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Agreed friend, when people take and take and take everyone loses.

As hunters and fishermen we should all be strong advocates for wildlife management, to ensure future generation can experience the same luxuries we do.
Can't think of a way to have said it better myself! Fish on, Sir!
 
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