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Thread: Catch and Release and a few observations about fishing

  1. #1
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    Default Catch and Release and a few observations about fishing

    Fellow Alaskan Fisherman-

    I wanted to start a thread that has information on how to practice catch and release fishing on the ice. I have posted some links to articles below, and I also wanted to share some of my own observations. Alaska's fish are an important resource in addition to an integral part of many ecosystems. While fish like salmon can (usually) sustain an intensive harvest and still maintain a healthy population, many of the fish in our lakes and rivers are NOT capable of the same type of intensive harvest.

    It is for those species (Lake Trout, Charr, Burbot, Grayling, Wild Rainbows, Pike, Sheefish) that we as fisherman have a RESPONSIBILITY not only to ourselves but future generations of Alaskans to ensure that the populations remain healthy and abundant. Not saying that ADFG does not know what they are talking about when the set the daily harvest limits and retentions sizes, but they are so underfunded and understaffed, I believe thier data may be in need of updating. Long Lake is a perfect example: NO LAKE TROUT POPULATION??? How many here have caught young lake trout there?

    I would encourage setting your own personal standards, such as only keeping burbot over 28", or releasing large (27"+) lake trout. The idea is to make a plan you can live with that not only makes you happy and rewards your angling efforts(if catching is not enough), but sustains the ecosystem as well.

    Catch and release tactics: I will just share a few things that I have picked up in my time fishing that help ensure that you can enjoy catching trophy fish, and still send them back to the depths unharmed (though maybe a bit shaken up) to catch another day:

    Most importantly, if you are going to release a fish, NEVER HANDLE OR TOUCH THE GILLS OF THE FISH! They have protective plates over these areas for a reason. Even slight damage to these sensitive organs can be fatal for fish. For non-toothy fish, grab them by the bottom lip and hoist them up, and for Pike or other toothy fish, have heavy gloves ready or grab them behind the top of their head. This is the NUMBER ONE reason fish released die after swimming away.

    When fishing deep water (40+ ft), bring fish up slowly and allow them to naturally adjust their swim bladders and equalize the pressure. After all, isn't the fight the best part? Why end it so quickly by tightening the drag and horseing the fish to the surface. Enjoy it!

    When you get the fish to the surface, be prepared to remove the hook and take photos as quickly as possible. The eyes of fish are the first parts to freeze and that can happen very quickly in 20 below temps. Prolonged exposure to the cold will surely kill the fish. The quicker you can get that beast back into the water, the better!

    Also when landing a fish, try to keep them off bare ice. The protective slime coating on the fish will quickly (< 20 secs) freeze to the ice and tear off the fish. This slime layer is one of the fishes primary immune systems, and tearing off one or both sides of the slime can expose the fish to problems even if it swims happily down the hole.

    Lastly, if the hook is taken deep by the fish, either keep the fish to eat or cut your line and let the fish spit the hook later. A hook will rust out of a fish in a couple of days with no serious damage provided that the fish was handled gently and the above items were followed. We can always buy more tackle and hooks, but it's tough to buy a 30" rainbow trout.



    I hope that some of you out there may find some of this information inforamtive and useful. I did not want this post to come off like a rant, but reading it over it sounds like I am cramming my beliefs down your throats. Well, so be it. The fish in this state are rivaled only by those in the upper most parts of the Canadian wilderness, lets keep it that way!

    If anyone would like to send me a message regarding other ways to keep Alaska's trophy stocks around for future generations, please feel free!

    Safe fishing to all,

    Jake

    http://www.lake-link.com/anglers/catchandrelease/

    Taken from Anglerguide.com:
    Recycle Fish with Catch and Release

    Fish can be recycled when you practice catch and release fishing. All fish below the legal minimum length limit must be released. Others that you don't want to keep can also be released. This type of recycling helps to keep the population and natural reproduction of a fish species at a high level in a lake and allows a fish the chance to grow to be an adult. Research shows that lakes need larger-sized fish to keep a balanced population. These strong, fast-growing fish have survived the early years when most fish die from natural causes. These fish are the primary spawners and major predators.

    A fish's body slows down a lot in the winter and reduces its need for oxygen. This helps make catch and release easy! Remember to handle the fish quickly and gently; do not squeeze the fish. Use a needlenose pliers to remove a lip hook. If the fish has swallowed the hook, cut the line and it will dissolve inside the fish in a short time. Ease the fish back into the water, don't throw it. Next time you catch that big one, you'll be glad you recycled others!

  2. #2
    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Thumbs up The voice of Marcus (since he is not around)...

    "Catch and release in bacon grease."

  3. #3
    Member LungShot's Avatar
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    Default Release them all dang it!!!!

    I dont keep any native lake speices with the exception of pike depending on where im fishing but only to help the original native speices of that water.

    When people keep native fish in a nonstocked lake it has a negative affect for the population/ecosystem/and for other fishermen.
    Lake Trout in my opinion should NEVER be kept. They are of prehistoric descent, and are very slow growing. When you keep a 20lbs laker your keeping an "old man of the lake" probably 20 to 30 yrs old possibly older.

    What I hate is when 1 guy, and his 2 kids go to a small lake in the spring when the trout are in a feeding frenzy, and they keep every **** fish they catch! Then they come back the next day, and do it again, and again. All the 30 plus fish kept are put into a freezer, and 2 or 3 get consumed. The bad thing is the family didn't NEED the fish but the lake is 30 less now over there crave to keep the them. I saw this first hand as a freind of mine's dad was this way. He lived on Biglake, and every time I went to his house the freezer had more, and more dollies/trout but nothing was eaten as the family was well off, and of course didn't NEED the meat. I eventually got my freind to follow by my standards instead of his fathers, and today we both release everything except salmon we intend on eating. If everyone did this all lakes in this state would have trophy fish, and plentiful populations equaling great fishing for all!
    I guess thats just wishful thinking right?

    Live by the motto "put it back so it's bigger next time we catch it"

  4. #4
    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default Wasting is a sin

    Wasters come in many varieties and waste many types of resources. They are not true sportsmen if they don't understand the principle of respecting resources.

    I have no problem with catch and releasers, and consider them sportsmen, but personally, I only take what we will eat, and I stop when I have all we will eat. If we as a family don't need fish for food, I won't even fish at all, though I enjoy the activity as much as the reward. When I do have to return fish due to size or species, I wet my hands from the ice hole and carefully release them back in.

    Having lived around Eskimos most of my life, I prescribe to the adage of "Don't play with your food.". Fish taste good whether big or small (and probably smaller tastes better in many cases).

    So yeah, release them all dang it! More for me and others who enjoy the flesh as much as the activity. Nothing beats a crispy little rainbow or dolly, rolled in flour and fried in butter. Love it!

  5. #5

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    keeping is fine, exploiting can be bad....killing brute stock is usually the downfall, more so in fish like lake trout and char.

    There is a reason harding is getting to be more restrictive, and will continue to do so over the years to come. Poor recruitment and people killing off 20+ YEAR old fish will do that to a lake in a hurry.

    I have a saying I like to use every now and then.

    Limit your kill, dont kill your limit.

  6. #6

    Default Being a sportsman

    My grandfather always emphasized being a sportsman. Often we would catch one steelhead, maybe two and that was it. He'd say, "that's enough for one day."
    If I don't need it, I often don't need to take it. (sometimes I do). The fish tastes good, but it will be gone, but the photo will be there forever. I don't mind letting a nice fish go, but I mind letting it go without a picture.

    I will be more concious about Lakers now after reading this, I don't think I would like to keep any big ones anymore, but: Here is my question, why do they only allow you to keep the big old lake trout in Lake Louise and not the smaller ones? I thought the bigger ones are the ones that reproduce the most and are older fish?
    Hike faster. I hear banjo music.

  7. #7

    Default Catch & Release - gloves/no gloves - fish survival - FYI

    There are different opinions and observations as to the merit of using or not of using gloves when landing/handling live fish that will be released. The debate is whether bare hands affect or damage the protective mucous layer on the skin of fish. You may be interested to note that submittals to the New Zealand Fishing News, a sports fishing monthly, August issue, focused upon a letter of the month by Warren Beale, a commercial fisherman, noted that a Japanese firm interesed in shipping live snapper performed a live test in New Zealand. Warren observed and reported that a test wherein A) first catch -- all fish taken were handled with bare hands and released in a live tank B) second catch -- all handlers wore gloves, all fish handled and released into a live tank (no bare hands).

    The result being that within three weeks all of the bare handed touched fish showed hand prints, which became progressively worse, until a gooey burn like apperance on their skin followed by rotting of flesh.

    Conversely, the glove handled fish showed no signs of deterioration -- none.

    Warren suggested that gloves, a wet towel or other barrier between hand and fish is recommended.

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    Default Wonderful Follow Up!!

    Wildog-

    I won't pretend to understand the logic of the regulations put out by ADFG. Simple biology tells us that big fish, if allowed to breed, make more big fish. I would suggest that on trophy lakes like the one you mention, ADFG should move to a "slot" requirement. I may catch some he11 for this, since I know it takes time to measure and further endangers the fish of overexposure, but if they determine an acceptable min and max length for fish to retain (ie fish must be over 16" but under 28"), I believe that the trophy-class fisheries can be sustained for many years to come. Thoughts?

    Chief-

    Thanks for a great post regarding handling the fish as well. I neglected to include that getting your bare hands wet also helps protect the slime coating of the fish. It sucks at 20 below, but you can always invest in a pair of insulated atlas rubberized gloves as well and deal with it that way too.

    Thanks again!

    Cheers!

    Jake
    Last edited by AKanders; 01-18-2008 at 18:16. Reason: adding comments

  9. #9
    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AKanders View Post
    Wildog-

    I won't pretend to understand the logic of the regulations put out by ADFG. Simple biology tells us that big fish, if allowed to breed, make more big fish. I would suggest that on trophy lakes like the one you mention, ADFG should move to a "slot" requirement. I may catch some he11 for this, since I know it takes time to measure and further endangers the fish of overexposure, but if they determine an acceptable min and max length for fish to retain (ie fish must be over 16" but under 28"), I believe that the trophy-class fisheries can be sustained for many years to come. Thoughts?

    Chief-

    Thanks for a great post regarding handling the fish as well. I neglected to include that getting your bare hands wet also helps protect the slime coating of the fish. It sucks at 20 below, but you can always invest in a pair of insulated atlas rubberized gloves as well and deal with it that way too.

    Thanks again!

    Cheers!

    Jake
    I think that would be a great idea propose it for the next bof!
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Default

    I have always wondered just how fast hooks actually rust out of fish. In a lifetime of ice fishing, mostly in Vermont, I have seen tons of trout put back down the hole with a hook in their throat. Most of them actually. But I have never caught a trout with a hook in it, and I don't know anyone who has. I wonder what that means? I have a few concerned fishing buddies back there that only use old, rusty but sharp bronze hooks ice fishing.

    Just screwing around in my pond one time I used some fine wire circle hooks and live baits, and was blown away at the hooking potential of those circle hooks for trout. I haven't tried them on bigger trout but would love to, and am sure they would rock.

  11. #11
    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default They rust

    I have caught several trout with rusting hooks in their mouth and gullet. I caught one dolly below Tustumena last year with a whole set-up down his throat, including a bead.

  12. #12
    Mark
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEVTSEAK View Post
    .....In a lifetime of ice fishing, mostly in Vermont, I have seen tons of trout put back down the hole with a hook in their throat. Most of them actually. But I have never caught a trout with a hook in it, and I don't know anyone who has. I wonder what that means?....
    Dead fish don't bite again?

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    Default

    I agree with mark

    don't use bait unless you plan on eating what you catch
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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