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Hi all, we are having a debate at several sites concerning whether we should release all the fish we catch, kill all the fish we catch or practice selective harvesting. I for one favor selective harvest. I release all large fish of every species that I fish for. My self imposed slot limits are as follows. I release all Muskies, all Pike over 30", all walleyes over 22" all trout over 3 or 4 lbs. I limit my catches of perch and bluegills to three limits each per year. Toxin levels in large fish are high and large predators are needed to keep trash fish like carp and sheepshead numbers down. lets hear your veiws on this topic. Kingfisher
 

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I think there should be a different limit standards on bass. I like the idea of 14 inches because all bass are larger now then when it was 12 inches. The problem is when these fish get much larger than 14 inches, they are not very good eaters. I would like a limit range of 10 - 14 inches because those would be the best eaters. Anything under should be released. But anything over should be released unless there it is a trophy and worth mounting.
 

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Selective Harvest based upon the specific enviroment that you are dealing with.

There are somethings that apply to everywhere. Big Walleye go back unless its Erie (do they come in any other size then big there?). Muskies always go back (even if the DNR says to fish them out)

Heres a topic that usually I avoid. I want wall hangers. Sorry I havn't seen a replica yet that can match the skin mount. And I want the fish I caught, not a mold of somebody else's. But once I get ONE thats it, no more, even if the state record comes on the next cast. And that I follow for EVERY species.

Numbers are more important then size. Legally I can keep five Bass. But I would NEVER keep that many. One, maybe two if I'm entertaining.

Like the 25 perch rule. Who can sit down and eat 25 jumbo perch, by themselves? Last month I caught 35 perch out of one hole, 3 came home for dinner that night (The 3 I gut hooked). Regulations are fine, but I beleave they are set up for the once or twice a year fishermen, and the everyday guys can do some serious damage if they followed them.
 

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I have some first hand experience with over harvest. I've seen it, and it ain't cool. When I was a boy we used to fish a small lake that was hard to get to but had a public access. One winter we started catching huge bluegills. Each one went over a pound. Between my dad and my uncle and thier boys we started to taking a couple 5 gal. buckets per trip. 3 or 4 trips per week.
Pretty soon the word got out to thier work buddies, and past. And pretty soon you'd have to fish with a doz. people when there used to be no one out there. I mean the access was just terrible and these guys were tearing up thier 4x4s to get to them big gills.
Well, not long after that, maybe a month or so, the fishing slowed. Them stupid bassards were wondering where the gills "moved to". They bored holes every where on that 15acre lake looking for them "pounders" they called them. All they came up with was just the little ones. Dah!
To this day, close to 13 years later. Nobody fishes that lake. There might be some bigger ones in there now, but I hope nobody says any thing if it happens again. I know that them old boys didn't learn anything because I fish with them from time to time now and they are still worried about catching thier limit (maybe even some extra if they're feeling like they won't get caught), and not limiting thier catch.
Thats how I learned my lesson. Now I just take what I will eat, not what then nieghbor-hood will eat. I mean who wants to sit down and clean fish for more than a few minutes any way. I think the current limits are still too high even though they are less then they were for pan fish at that time.
I think they ought to put slot limits on a lot of fish and still knock the fives down to 3, and the 25s down to 10 or 12. We could ensure a better quality fishery that way I'm sure.
 
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"I have some first hand experience with over harvest. I've seen it, and it ain't cool."

I've posted about this before and there is a solution to 'fished-out' lakes.
We had a catch & release lake for the past few years here in Oakland County. Their were some true whoppers in there. This lake went off C&R this year and the fisheries department of the D.N.R. told me that the size and number of large fish in that lake has gone way down in well less than one year. Those little inland lakes can only take so much pressure before you're left with fishing for stunted bluegills.
I asked the D.N.R. if they couldn't set aside a few lakes in the state (Wakely Lake is the only C&R lake I know of left in the state and some of you know of the size and number of big fish in that lake) for C&R and they said it is possible. This is going to sound 'elitist' to some folks I'm sure, but isn't it also elitist to insist that all lakes are catch & kill? The quality of fish that can be caught and caught again by others can really be helped in some lakes with C&R. What a treat to be able to take a kid fishing and to have their first fish really put a bend in their rod.
Anyhow, if you want to voice an opinion to the D.N.R. about setting up a few lakes for catch & release, the two folks I've contacted with good results are:
Joe Leonardi
Fisheries Management Biologist
Southern Lake Huron Management Unit
Shiawasee Office
[email protected]
and
James Schneider
[email protected]
I was told by these gents that had the D.N.R. known a significant number of anglers wanted C&R lakes, we could have them.

 

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I agree with you that the larger fish should be released for future gene pools. I've had that tough decision of weather to take a trophy fish home or let it go, many fish have rode around in my live well for a few hours only to be released back into the water. Right or wrong it keeps me coming back for the grandma of the one I caught.

 

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There's an old addage that states, "10% of the fisherman catch 90% of the fish."

How true.

I think what defines a 'sportsman' is by what he/she is willing to give back to the resource. I believe we all owe something, yet it seems as though all some people do is take.

I'm a walleye fishing fanatic, and I'm getting better with each passing year. ANYTHING over 20" gets tossed back. Period. On average, it takes a walleye approximately 4 years to reach the legal size of 15". A 30", 9 lb. 'eye is around 15 years old. To me, its a shame to kill something like that.

On the same toke, when I someday break the 12 lb. barrier, well, that one is going on the wall. I don't behoove anyone for keeping one for the wall. My dad caught an 8 1/2 lb.'er on Bay De Noc this past winter. He's 59 years old, and has never caught an 'eye that big in his life. I see nothing wrong with somebody keeping a fish of this importance.

But I also know of a spot on the St Mary's that had been a sleeper for walleyes..... until this past summer. Nearly every time I went out, I caught 1-2 fish that were over 5 lbs. and I turned them all loose. Yet I saw the same boats, day after day, week after week, keeping those big fish.

Those kind of people are selfish slobs. There were alot of eaters being caught and there was absolutely no reason to keep the big-boys.

Don't get me wrong: I LOVE to eat walleye, I just think its too bad you can't make some folks understand how important it is to catch and release from time to time. These same people will be wondering in a few years why there aren't anymore fish being caught.
 
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