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BenjlanFebruary 5th, 2011, 6:25 pm
Cedar Rapids lowa

Posts: 54
Hey Yall,

I've been reading trout unlimited, watching fly fishing shows, reading fly fishing mags, and reading books here lately. I don't understand. When did it become not ok to keep a couple for the table?

Here is my back round, born and raised in small town Iowa, started fishing with Dad before I can remember, Started fly fishing age 29, I have a real love for nature, and can not stand the taste of fish.

My question is for those that do like to eat fish, why not? It seems the DNR has a handle on the conservation part, if the stream cannot handle the harvest, limits and restrictions have been put in place. Why not keep one now and then? In nature there are predators and if I'm not mistaken humans would be top of the food chain.

In Iowa we have a stocking program. The rainbows are put there to catch. The only native species we have are the Brook. If we were truly worried about the natives why are we introducing species that compete directly with the natives?

Please do not take this the wrong way, I'm glad we have the other species. I just don't think there is anything wrong for a fish eater to take a couple home for the table.

I would enjoy hearing feed back from my peers, the people that I value talking to on this site . Am I way off on my thinking or are we becoming holier than thou on this topic.

I will finish by saying I am not anti-conservation but I just don't understand the 100% release philosophy being jammed down our throats.


DryflyFebruary 5th, 2011, 6:30 pm
rochester mn

Posts: 133
Who said it is not OK.
BenjlanFebruary 5th, 2011, 6:36 pm
Cedar Rapids lowa

Posts: 54
Dry fly,

It's just the feeling I get when looking at different multimedia. This philosophy shouldn't matter to me a bit being I do not eat fish. I just don't think it's right.

DryflyFebruary 5th, 2011, 6:40 pm
rochester mn

Posts: 133
Fly fishing in general is associated with a more conservation fluent angler but it is often good to keep a few small ones on high number streams.

I am pretty sure TU is not strict CR at least not the ones I know of.
BenjlanFebruary 5th, 2011, 6:48 pm
Cedar Rapids lowa

Posts: 54
I love what TU does for us. If I had a local chapter I would love to be involved. We have a stream that runs right trough town here. some parts are just beautiful. Some other parts look like a drainage ditch. From what I understand There has been a lot of work done on it by TU members. McLeod Run is a put and grow stream. I've caught some big ones there.
Jmd123February 5th, 2011, 8:02 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2611
To be perfectly honest, years ago I used to keep EVERY trout that was legal to keep. They are delicious!!! However, when I lived in the West Branch, MI area, and fished the Rifle River, the minimum size limit was 15 inches, and I rarely caught anything that big. I just got into the habit of throwing them all back, even when I did top the 15" mark. And I used to eat bass and some panfish quite frequently too, but eventually I just found them kind of tasteless compared to trout. In addition, much of my warmwater fishing over the past decade has been in rather urbanized watersheds, where I refuse to eat anything for fear of chemical contamination of some kind or other (you just never know what was dumped there 50 years ago or even yesterday).

That's not to say I won't whack a few this year if I'm in the mood, now that I'm back to living in proper trout country again. Sadly, though, I'm living on an old SAC base (Wurtsmith) which was pretty seriously polluted during the bad old days of the Cold War (B-52 bombers with nukes). So, I won't be eating anything out of Van Etten Lake or even the lower Au Sable (except perhaps steelhead, since they feed out in the open waters of Lake Huron), despite the fact that both walleye and yellow perch are available and I DO like those.

Take a few home, put some lemon and butter on 'em, wrap 'em in foil, twenty minutes in the oven at about 350 up that foil, take your fork and peel the skin back, and behold that lovely pink flesh that just pulls right off the skeleton. MMMMMMM...


No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
BcvizinaFebruary 5th, 2011, 10:27 pm
Northern Michigan

Posts: 30
I'm glad that somebody brought this up. I've been pretty new to fly fishing and I have had the same feeling towards catch and release. I feel that it is frowned upon to keep fish if you are a fly angler. I think it has to do with the successful fly-fisherman I have read about because they all catch and release. On the contrary, almost every bait fisherman or spin cast fisherman seems to keep the legal trout they catch.

Maybe it's just what I have observed, but I would like to hear about some fly-fisherman that take some home. I don't think there is anything wrong with it, I just don't want to feel guilty making a shore lunch.

If I planned to take a trip through a native brook trout river with a strong population, what length fish would be recommended? I know someone described smaller fish, do you think right around the legal limit?

TNEALFebruary 6th, 2011, 5:24 am

Posts: 278

I grew up eating brookies taken from the East Branch of the AuSable in Northern Michigan. In my opinion, the smaller the better, down to the legal size limit. I was hoping that would be reduced to 7" this year, but it doesn't appear to be ahppining.At any rate, almost all godd fishermen I know keep relatively few fish compared with the number caught; that said, it's a personl decision. Our trout streams in Michigan are largely man-made, and need to be attended to as such.
Aaron7_8February 6th, 2011, 9:18 am
Helena Montana

Posts: 115
I grew up eating alot of fish. In a put and take no big deal to keep some stockers. I have gotten into the habit of only catching fish that I know I am going to eat that day and not putting them into the freezer. I usually only keep them when they are hooked deeply, which usually doesn't happen when fishing with flies. You should never feel bad about keeping something if you are going to eat it. If you like fish from the grocery store better go for it, I just don't see the big deal. I don't feel it is any different than eating wild game you just have to be responsible about it.
EricdFebruary 6th, 2011, 10:24 am
Mpls, MN

Posts: 113
This past season on my home water the local TU chapter and the DNR asked anglers to please keep their limit. Can someone explain what too many fish does to a small stream?

I eat one or two each year and love it.

DryflyFebruary 6th, 2011, 10:49 am
rochester mn

Posts: 133
Say a stream has 3000 fish per mile 2900 of those are under 12 inches there is only so much food for all the fish if some of the small ones are thinned out the others will get bigger. The bigger ones should be left because they can eat the small ones and keep the population down.

Conversly low number streams should probably not have any harvest.

PaulRobertsFebruary 6th, 2011, 11:50 am

Posts: 1776
Oh...I guess it's a double post. Moving my response over here...

In my mind, keeping fish is AOK -except where lots of anglers are sharing a water and too many quality fish are removed. It's a matter of sharing a coveted resource, if not about population health.

C&R has unfortunately gone over the top in many people's minds -a good idea gone wild. It's not needed everywhere, or for every fish -but some (many) seem to have made it dogma. In many, if not most waters, some number can be kept for the table. Most stream trout reach maturity and die within 4 years, so turnover is fairly high anyway.

For me, I follow the laws. If I don't like them I educate myself about why they are in place. Often there is a perspective I didn't realize. And I've had to come to the conclusion that I'm not the only one to consider. If I still don't like the law, I can work to alter it -and have in the past (and not always successfully).

My own ethics, subservient to the laws, are to take some for the table, but keep the quality of my fisheries high. I have a bunch of C&R experiences that show the value there.
FalsiflyFebruary 6th, 2011, 12:00 pm
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 661
Back when I was living on the Namekagon River I was fishing almost daily. It wasn’t uncommon to get a few hours on the water before work either. My wife was working for the Sawyer County District Attorney, so naturally I got to know him rather well, and every time we met he would ask how the fishing was going. He expressed an interest in fly fishing, but hadn’t spent much time in the pursuit. During one of our conversations he expressed a more vigorous interest, and I responded with an invitation to join me. However, he purposed what I viewed as a naive proposition. He wanted to fish Saturday evening and have my wife and I over Sunday morning for a trout breakfast, with the trout we caught. I knew the river like the back of my hand and had a good idea were our chances were best met, but the one fish limit of 15 inches plus could be a major challenge when the fishing is slow and no hatch is underway. I decided to fish a stretch that had been consistently productive and knew that to flog the river mindlessly would be a waste of time. It was either going to happen here or it wasn’t. The hot fly for me during this time was a #14 Light Cahill Wet, cast quartering up and allowed to swing. I suggested he follow suit and gave him one. The casting began. As time passed, and dusk started to creep in, I was experiencing a feeling of foreboding, as my fishing and guiding acumen was being put to the test. Finally Tom was onto the first fish, and it looked like a creel contender. After careful examination, with the tape, it came up disappointingly shy of the mark, but just barely. I could see the frustration in Tom’s eye, as it was getting late, and the trout breakfast was slipping into obscurity. He looked at me and asked, “What do you think?” I said, “Tom you’re the District Attorney, do you want to take the chance of your name appearing in the paper?” With that we watched the fish escape from bondage. I thought to myself, if I wasn’t fishing with a prosecuting Attorney………Anyway, we both lucked out and came up with the necessary fixings and had an excellent Sunday morning breakfast. My guess it was the mid to latter 90’s, and the last trout I’ve kept. I’m not opposed to keeping trout; I’ve since lost my cook.

When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
Jmd123February 6th, 2011, 1:01 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2611
In my humble opinion, it is best to keep those fish that are just over the legal limit, and throw the big ones back. Those big fish are breeders, they have the best genetics for growth, survival, and disease resistance, and it is well known that the bigger the female, the more eggs she will produce. Get a good waterproof camera so you can prove it to your buddies without having to kill one of nature's masterpieces, but those smaller ones, well they just fit better in the frying pan anyways.

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
BenjlanFebruary 6th, 2011, 3:18 pm
Cedar Rapids lowa

Posts: 54
Hey Yall,

I'm happy to see most share my opinions, even if you do not at least we can get along.

I believe it best to take the stockies, and I would never advocate to take that 25 inch masterpiece out of it's habitat. I also believe in the laws and follow them word for word.

I can't wait for spring. I went out today, froze my fingers, caught one trout, released, and came home and stood in the hot shower to thaw. It was worth it though.

Go Pack.

SofthackleFebruary 6th, 2011, 8:11 pm
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
I am a TU member. Catch and release is encouraged, but keeping some to eat is not discouraged. It is much easier to release fish if you are fishing with artificial lures like flies, and perhaps the idea has stuck that fly fishermen always release their fish. Keeping some to eat is perfectly fine as long as you are not fishing in a NO KILL area and you are within the catch limit.

What often bothers me, however are anglers that go out and catch and keep a daily limit for days on end, it seems, simply because they can. I don't believe they could possibly eat all those trout.

"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders:
BenjlanFebruary 6th, 2011, 8:50 pm
Cedar Rapids lowa

Posts: 54

The bait guys do that around here. I see the same guys every weekend, some even ask if I'm going to keep that one after they have seen me release all the others. As if I would give them the fish.

Jmd123February 6th, 2011, 9:03 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2611
Some people don't get catch & release AT ALL. "Why go fishing if you aren't gonna eat 'em?" Gee, maybe because I would like to be able to catch 'em in the future...of course, these same folks don't give a damn about wild or native fish, they're so used to stocking that it's what they expect, those fish were put there to eat after all. And in their minds (what they have for minds, anyways), why bother to protect wild or native trout (or other species) when the hatchery can just crank out more of them?

When I was in Texas, people always asked me if I kept 'em (bass & sunfish, that is). When I inevitably said no, they exclaimed, "WHY NOT???" Whereupon I had to tell them, "Look, I'm from Michigan, and we have trout; we have salmon; we have walleye; we have whitefish; we have yellow perch..."

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
SofthackleFebruary 7th, 2011, 5:10 am
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
My water, unfortunately, relies heavily on stocking. Silting prevents natural reproduction in the river, so stocking is the norm. We do have good holdover rates, which enables the fish to get accustomed to the water more like wild fish. The problem comes when fishermen wait for the stocking truck. They fish as soon as the trout are put in, and I have seen the same trout fishermen,day after day, out taking their limit.

I have never understood doing this, even when I was young and did keep more for the table than I do now. Stockies really don't taste all that great till they've been in the river living on natural foods for a while.

So, encouraging catch and release is a positive attempt to protect some of what is there. Myself, I try to encourage more people to learn to fly fish. Then it is easier to get them to see that catch and release can be done successfully without causing too much trauma to the fish. If they desire a few for the table-no problem. It's a state of mind that one appreciates more as they progress and grow in fishing.

"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders:
OldredbarnFebruary 7th, 2011, 7:01 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608
It seems the DNR has a handle on the conservation part

In all due respect...What are you smoking? I have a hard time getting my mind around the hubris of our species...We think we can "manage" everything and damn the consequences...We are doing a hell of a job don't you think?! In terms of catch-and-release...Unless the water is specifically "no-kill" its up to you to follow the rules of your stream and do as you see fit...So take what you want and don't worry about it your beloved DNR is manufacturing you some more...It has a masturbatory feel to it...Don't you think?

Lets assume you are correct and man is at the top of the food chain (this food-chain concept is itself man-made and homo-centric if you will)why would you trust the thundering herd to do the right thing?...Where have they shown such restrain in the past? Reproduction? Consumption? Care for the planet?

I'll let you kill any fish you want as long as you do it with your bare hands...No tools like a spear or $500 fly rod...Hows that deal sound?


"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood

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