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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 9:38 am 
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I was at a family reunion of sorts last week. Spent time with some relatives from Canada and the UK and a number of states that have seen my photos and heard stories of wild trout. Some were aghast that I thought catch and release was an acceptable practice. I reminded them that in many areas that I fish it is mandatory and you can't chose what species takes your cast. Do you think fish feel the pain of a hook and that it registers in their tiny brain or is it all a flight instinct that makes them struggle against the hook. If I stop playing them they calm down again and I know that I have caught the same fish more than once in a day so it can't be too traumatic.

Even if what fish feel can be called pain, the sensation likely stops short of what humans consider suffering. As Brian Curtis, former supervising fisheries biologist for the California State Division of Fish and Game, wrote many years ago, the brain of the fish "fails to provide a home for the conscious association of ideas, and therefore robs pain of an imagination to work on." As for more radical, quasi-religious convictions by some animal rights advocates that fish are "experiencing subjects" with belief systems of their own, that position is even more unproveable. What fish do feel, when hooked, must be weighed against the greater good that anglers do in preserving habitat and protecting fisheries, and the care that they take. -- Good fishing is a moral act.

I am primarily a catch and release fisherman. I do eat them sometimes. Brookies in a pan are just yummy and my family back in WI has always enjoyed, walleye, perch and panfish. I pinch my barbs when and where required and that is over 90% of the time no matter where I go. I don't overplay the fish and I don't cast to spawners when they are obvious. I don't buy into the notion that you can successfully catch and release using bait (worms, eggs, power anything) or any lure that has a treble hook. The hook is usually set too deep to allow a timely release without cutting the line and leaving it in place.That is why I primarily use artificial single hooked lures (OK, I still use multiple flies in tandem).

http://www.bowriverblog.com/catch-and-release-information/
http://www.netplaces.com/fly-fishing/beyond-the-basics/do-fish-feel-pain.htm

Do you catch and release? Why or why not?

Dick Nickum has a great article in the latest High Country Angler issue that is free to T.U members.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 4:23 pm 
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I was at a family vacation on a lake once, and all the kids were fishing for Blue Gils off the dock, I like to pinch the barb on the hook for easy release to help the kids. Depends on the fish, but yeah what is the point of catch and release, unless they are under regulations. I really don't fish much, mostly because I never catch any. :) So do you have to throw an undersize fish back even if it has no chance to survive?

Off topic- BTW just had some great Walleye from Wisconsin. Yum! (At a restaurant) :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:19 pm 
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I have laid into a few fisherman in the past for what I thought was pretty unethical behavior. I witnessed fishermen grasp fish with dry hands and literally RIP the hook right from the fishes mouth (which tends to also remove half of their jaw). They then overhand throw the fish out into the depths where it sinks and dies. If it manages to swim away it has no chance of survival without a functioning mouth.

They stock the lakes and reservoirs around colorado with "catchable" sized trout or stockers. This means they are stocking keepers. If you catch one that is not the right size for you or is under the legal keeper size and it is capable of living after you remove the hook and bait then go for it. But make sure it is able to recover and swim away.

I have also witnessed fisherman transfer a full stringer of fish from lake to trunk of car and then go back & continue fishing when they were obviously over the bag limit. (I take photos of those and pass them along to one of the District Wildlife Managers) One other thing is folks that don't know what the species of fish look like. Brookis are not browns and Colorado Greenbacks should all be put back.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:20 pm 
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Photo-squirrel wrote:
Brookis are not browns and Colorado Greenbacks should all be put back.

Except the fat ones. :wink: :wink: :Whistle

We practice catch and release most of the time. As far as fish feeling any pain or learning from the experience, they do seem to learn, probably why I don't do very well at all below Cheesman. To catch a fish one must be smarter than the fish. :bash

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:24 pm 
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Grady wrote:
Photo-squirrel wrote:
Brookis are not browns and Colorado Greenbacks should all be put back.

Except the fat ones. :wink: :wink: :Whistle

We practice catch and release most of the time. As far as fish feeling any pain or learning from the experience, they do seem to learn, probably why I don't do very well at all below Cheesman. To catch a fish one must be smarter than the fish. :bash
I'm gonna remember you said that Grady! :biggrin:

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:41 pm 
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I've seen Bears in Alaska (on TV) do catch and release of Salmon, they just eat the eggs and throw the fish back. And Cats in the wild catch and release mice and birds and play with them. Was watching a wildlife show last nite and a well fed wolf was hunting ducks in a pond in Alaska, and didn't eat one duckling. Just played with it on shore, and then let it plop back in the water. Seriously.

As for fish, just pinch the barb on the hook with needle nose pliers and the hook pops right out, sometimes too easy! :)


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:55 pm 
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The bears in Yellowstone do the same with cutthroat in the park streams. It is time to leave when you stumble upon a freshly gutted fish. Part of the reason back country fishing is closed until mid June or July in parts of Yellowstone.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:58 pm 
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Grady wrote:
Photo-squirrel wrote:
Brookis are not browns and Colorado Greenbacks should all be put back.

Except the fat ones. :wink: :wink: :Whistle

We practice catch and release most of the time. As far as fish feeling any pain or learning from the experience, they do seem to learn, probably why I don't do very well at all below Cheesman. To catch a fish one must be smarter than the fish. :bash



I am also terrible in Lower Cheesman. Those fish are too darn smart after seeing every pattern known to man thrown at them. Take the time and trek farther up the canyon where the scenery is a bit better and the fish are a bit dumber but also smaller.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 6:52 pm 
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Been several studies on catch and release. Even if handeled carefully mortality rates were still high.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:07 pm 
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Fishing hasn't been the same since we had our trout-stocked pond. Many of the bigger ones were named by the kids, couldn't catch those. Others would see you coming and swim over to greet you, clearly more mentally equipped than Dad said while we were bonking them on the head after reeling them in. I figure you should take the fish completely unless you're sure it will survive the release. Most times it will, others -- nah.

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