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Thread: Keeping Snagged Fish

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Default Keeping Snagged Fish

    I have a question, I have watched several shows on Alaska State Troopers that show Troopers inspecting Reds for snag wounds and upon finding them citing the anglers with snagging.

    My questions is this... I have seen numerous fish released after being snagged, don't it make sense that that same fish could then be caught in the mouth??

    So if you catch one legally that has gear or wounds, do you release it???

    I strictly follow the rules rarely fish for Reds, but every time I see this it makes me wonder. I have seen tons of salmon with gear stuck in them.

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    I haven't seen the shows you are referring to, but I don't see an issue with keeping a fish that had previously been snagged and released by someone else. I know the thought process years ago was that there better be evidence of a hook hole inside the mouth if there were also other wounds on the outside of the fish. It wouldn't be very common for someone to release a legally caught fish, thus any hole in the mouth would usually be assumed to be from the person who ultimately kept the fish. If the troopers came across someone and checked their fish and only found snag wounds and no sign of a hook in the mouth, then I could see them concluding that it had been snagged.

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    Did the Troopers also inspect for hook wounds "in the mouth" ?

    I understand and agree with your sentiment, though I doubt you will get much of it from others as there are several who advocate for intentional snagging and illegal retention of snagged fish, sockeye in particular, in the name of "conservation".

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    Member AKArcher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    I have a question, I have watched several shows on Alaska State Troopers that show Troopers inspecting Reds for snag wounds and upon finding them citing the anglers with snagging.

    My questions is this... I have seen numerous fish released after being snagged, don't it make sense that that same fish could then be caught in the mouth??

    So if you catch one legally that has gear or wounds, do you release it???

    I strictly follow the rules rarely fish for Reds, but every time I see this it makes me wonder. I have seen tons of salmon with gear stuck in them.

    Steve
    I think my decision would be based on how good the fishing was. If I was catching a fair amount of fish I would probably release it for the sake of not having the hassle if questioned. If the fishing was poor and it was the last of my limit, I would snap a picture or short video of the fish with the hook int its mouth along with the gear or wounds that would make it appear to be snagged. I always have my iPhone on me now and I would use that to prove I caught the fish in the mouth.
    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post

    So if you catch one legally that has gear or wounds, do you release it???
    Nope, and if I was cited for snagging a fish that was actually caught in the mouth I would fight that citation in court. That's like giving someone a ticket for having a dent on their vehicle. If the action wasn't witnessed and there is hook damage apparent in the mouth, there is no way that citation should stick.

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    Sounds like the troopers where playing it up for the cameras (again).

    I've caught a number of feeesh over the years that bore the signs of having been snagged, many with hooks/lures/flies still embedded in them. Of those instances when I did keep the fish (usually I release em, as the damage done by snagger mars the filet), I simply left MY hook in the fishes mouth and cut the line an inch above it.

    Pretty hard to make a case on snagging at that point, tho' I'm sure with the Discovery Cameras rolling, some still would....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    Nope, and if I was cited for snagging a fish that was actually caught in the mouth I would fight that citation in court. That's like giving someone a ticket for having a dent on their vehicle. If the action wasn't witnessed and there is hook damage apparent in the mouth, there is no way that citation should stick.
    Good point.

    I've watched an episode with the troopers catching people snagging reds. The trooper witnessed the snagging and then confronted the angler and pointed out the hook was not in the mouth. He wasn't randomly checking people's fish to see if there were signs of a fish retained that wasn't legally hooked. As few posters pointed out, lots of fish get snagged and released and then legally caught in the mouth later.

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    Member ak_cowboy's Avatar
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    90% of all sport caught sockeye are snagged.... they're just snagged in the mouth.

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    I guess I will just keep risking it. I don't usually carry out fish heads or guts since I don't eat that part and I am not going to start. I will tell the trooper the same thing I told the one that questioned the length of one of my jacks years ago. "I tossed the heads back in the river, but I will he happy to wait if you wanna try and fish em out and match them up to body for verification"

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    I personally feel the snagging rule is one of the stupidist laws Alaska has on the books. You have a bag limit. Take your limit and go home. Mission accomplished. It's legal in the Ocean. You are snagging reds in the mouth anyways when your flipping. If they are sooooo worried about intentional snagging, make it a single hook only in rivers. I will admit, back in the day before I owned a boat. I was down at Ship Creek fishing for silvers and snagged a silver. The hook had opened up the side of the fish about 3 inches and guts were hanging out several inches. I figured the fish was doomed. Since I had not intentially snagged it, I put it on the stringer. Two goodie two shoes started to make a scene that I kept a snagged fish. I handed them my cell phone and told them to call F&G with it to report me. They shut up and continued fishing never taking me up on the offer. Since there were tons of folks fishing, I am sure beyond a shadow of a doubt there was an undercover fish cop watching the entire scene and I was prepared to argue my point had he approached me. IMO if I let that fish go, it was Want and Waste. I took my limit home and slept well that night. That was the only fish I've ever kept that was snagged in Fresh Water since it was the only fish that was snagged in that condition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by .338WM View Post

    I understand and agree with your sentiment, though I doubt you will get much of it from others as there are several who advocate for intentional snagging and illegal retention of snagged fish, sockeye in particular, in the name of "conservation".

    Yep. And it begins.
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
    "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

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    I woud fight it in court as well. No way they can prove I was the one that snagged it. Much depends on the Trooper. If he or she is in a foul mood then look out! There are so many reds around there is NO reason to keep snagged fish. I went through a few hooks last year as i felt digging the hook out would hurt the fish more than leaving it in. Flies are cheap. Just tie on another one and its game on again.

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    Both of the instances on the trooper series show the troopers watching for a long time as the suspects snagged and kept fish. They inspected the fish only for physical evidence to support their observations before seizure of the snagged fish and citing the suspects. A third suspect was observed, but left the scene, out of the observing trooper's sight, before another trooper could get over there to detain him.

    I would think a charge resulting strictly from inspecting a ripped up fish without an observation of the person actually committing the act would be easy to dismiss

  14. #14

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    Last year a trooper tried to ticket me for a snagged red on the Kenai. Was using a barbless small fly landed a Red and fly came out and was resting on the side of the fish. He said it was snagged, I said show me where could not find a snag mark so he let it slide. But if it had been previously snagged it may have made his case? He asked me not to touch fish as he wanted to see my line attached to snagged fish. Kind of upsetting as I was not doing anything wrong and troopers attitude. Fly was small and both of us could not find a mark on the fish makes me want to use a barbed larger fly
    to prove I was legal.

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    Member agoyne's Avatar
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    Steve,

    When I was watching that episode, I was thinking exactly the same thing. We seen lots of foul hooked reds returned and who is to say that somebody upstream didn't catch him in the mouth.

    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    I have a question, I have watched several shows on Alaska State Troopers that show Troopers inspecting Reds for snag wounds and upon finding them citing the anglers with snagging.

    My questions is this... I have seen numerous fish released after being snagged, don't it make sense that that same fish could then be caught in the mouth??

    So if you catch one legally that has gear or wounds, do you release it???

    I strictly follow the rules rarely fish for Reds, but every time I see this it makes me wonder. I have seen tons of salmon with gear stuck in them.

    Steve

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    Member kwackkillncrew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chico99645 View Post
    I personally feel the snagging rule is one of the stupidist laws Alaska has on the books. You have a bag limit. Take your limit and go home. Mission accomplished. It's legal in the Ocean. You are snagging reds in the mouth anyways when your flipping. If they are sooooo worried about intentional snagging, make it a single hook only in rivers. I will admit, back in the day before I owned a boat. I was down at Ship Creek fishing for silvers and snagged a silver. The hook had opened up the side of the fish about 3 inches and guts were hanging out several inches. I figured the fish was doomed. Since I had not intentially snagged it, I put it on the stringer. Two goodie two shoes started to make a scene that I kept a snagged fish. I handed them my cell phone and told them to call F&G with it to report me. They shut up and continued fishing never taking me up on the offer. Since there were tons of folks fishing, I am sure beyond a shadow of a doubt there was an undercover fish cop watching the entire scene and I was prepared to argue my point had he approached me. IMO if I let that fish go, it was Want and Waste. I took my limit home and slept well that night. That was the only fish I've ever kept that was snagged in Fresh Water since it was the only fish that was snagged in that condition.
    You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to chico99645 again.
    I agree with you 100%. They want you to release your snagged fish. I wonder what the mortality rate is for releasing snagged fish. I mean when some one is bringing in the classic snagged halfmoon sockey and cranking it sideways up the river i cant imagine that fish is going to live. get your limit mouth or not and get out. there would be alot more successful spawning fish i think.
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    Member JediMasterSalmonSlayer's Avatar
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    Troopers will inspect for hook marks on the fish and even smell your yarn for scent or bait.

    I took my mom and her boyfriend for sockeye this last summer to Klutina. Both are non-residents and had appropriate license purchased. Her boyfriend caught a couple of sockeyes and I bled them and put them on a stringer while he still fished. After about 45 minutes 2 troopers arrived to question us about someone reporting that we were snaggin fish. They check license of all of us, and inspected both sockeyes on the stringer to identify hook marks in the mouth and no where else on the fish. One Trooper was very detailed checking all the fins, under belly, sides and every thing forward of the gill plate. Not locating any evidence of another hook mark, other than the mark in the mouth. The other Trooper took the hook of my mom's boyfriend rig and looked at it very close (single hook octopus gamakatsu with egg loop and small tuff of pink yarn) and proceded to smell the hook/yarn. Not a short sniff either, and triple sniffer, long slow and analyzing snorts. First time I ever saw a Trooper sniff to smell for scent or bait on a hook. Upon concluding their investigation, they found nothing illegal going on and allowed us to continue flipping for sockeyes.

    Did not mind the delay in fishing or inspection by the Troopers, I even found the one Trooper using his sense of smell to fight crime very entertaining. Not sure what would happen if they find additional marks on a fish? Or if a trooper has a sinus infection? Living proof I was that first hand detailed inspection does happen.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JediMasterSalmonSlayer View Post
    Troopers will inspect for hook marks on the fish and even smell your yarn for scent or bait.

    The other Trooper took the hook of my mom's boyfriend rig and looked at it very close (single hook octopus gamakatsu with egg loop and small tuff of pink yarn) and proceded to smell the hook/yarn. Not a short sniff either, and triple sniffer, long slow and analyzing snorts. First time I ever saw a Trooper sniff to smell for scent or bait on a hook. Upon concluding their investigation, they found nothing illegal going on and allowed us to continue flipping for sockeyes.

    Did not mind the delay in fishing or inspection by the Troopers, I even found the one Trooper using his sense of smell to fight crime very entertaining. Not sure what would happen if they find additional marks on a fish? Or if a trooper has a sinus infection? Living proof I was that first hand detailed inspection does happen.
    True story, they will do the 'sniff test' on your lure...only if they are the one that is holding the lure. Once while being checked out by Troopers, I held out my lure and offered it to him to sniff, but I think he was afraid I might hook him in the nose or something, and wanted to be the one holding it. Might have been the biggest catch of the day. Or maybe the biggest fine, posted in the Trooper Dispatch..."Angler fined and jailed for using 'assault hook' on F&G Trooper"
    "Grin and Bear It"

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    Member AKArcher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JediMasterSalmonSlayer View Post
    After about 45 minutes 2 troopers arrived to question us about someone reporting that we were snaggin fish.
    I guess anyone can say someone is snagging and the troopers now have the right to take someones time to "investigate" a snagging claim? I had this happen to me and I didn't even have a rod in hand. I was observing folks fish. The trooper walked up to me and said I was singled out by an observer as snagging fish. I simply said, "Unless they observed me fishing this river 3 years ago and also thought I kept the fish that was caught in the dorsal fin then I think either they or you are full of it, Sir. I haven't pulled my fishing tackle out of the truck yet!" All the bystanders started to laugh at him as it was obviously a bogus story either on his or the "honest observer" who "saw me snagging".

    I know this is a personal rant of mine, but this is a crock of sh*t. I personally think if the troopers don't see you snag the fish either on purpose or in error and keep the fish, or have clear video evidence of such actions, they can't prove you snagged the fish. Even if your fish has a hook mark in the mouth, if a trooper feels you are guilty of snagging they will assume you added that after you bonked them in the head.


    So tell me Jedi... will you release any sockeye you legally hook that have hook marks any where other than the mouth in the future?
    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


    AKArcher

  20. #20
    Member JediMasterSalmonSlayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKArcher View Post
    So tell me Jedi... will you release any sockeye you legally hook that have hook marks any where other than the mouth in the future?
    Release legally hooked sockeye with stray marks? past, present or future is all the same...depends on how big the fish is...lol

    yea I would bonk it.

    Have you ever seen the "stick and string" video? A trooper stood and watched us doing that bit and never smelled our hooks. lol
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