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PartsmanApril 12th, 2018, 2:21 pm
bancroft michigan

Posts: 140
I hope I'm not opening a can of worms here, and maybe just get a thicker skin, but on popular sportsmen website here in my home state there is a ongoing battle over gear restricted and catch release fishing on some stretches of a few streams. Frankly, I would like to see gear restrictions expanded, and at least some customizing of creel limits on streams in the lower northern peninsula of Michigan. Just wondering on some thoughts from folks from different parts of the country.

Mike.
RleePApril 15th, 2018, 12:11 pm
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 332
Well, I guess I'll say a few things here in hopes of perhaps starting a conversation...

Other than bait, there are, to my knowledge anyway, few if any streams situations where gear restrictions alone are a biologically worthwhile management tool. Fly/spin/barbed/barbless C&R mortality are all roughly about the same or within a single percent or two of each other.

Even bait is getting another look, or so I am hearing/reading. While probably still measurably higher than fly/artificial mortality, "actively fished" bait mortality is much lower than the general 40-50% you often hear associated with bait. I've heard 5-10% or so thrown out for actively fished bait C&R mortality.

Hence, unless we are interested in producing additional law enforcement headaches or the social management of fisheries, there really isn't much of a case to be made for gear restrictions. This would be especially true, IMO, when we are talking about fisheries where either the normal annual natural mortality is such that it occludes any regulatory tinkering (small brook trout freestones in PA, for example) or fisheries where the supply of fish is highly variable and episodic and fish numbers are artificially significantly over inflated for social reasons (as in the Pennsylvania Lake Erie steelhead fishery). But this is edging over into the harvest/creel side of the original questions and I don't really want to get into that now, as I may return when I have more time to opine on this.
WbranchApril 16th, 2018, 6:01 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2286
I fish a number of rivers in Montana and even though there are no gear restrictions I am aware of on them it is extremely rare to see anyone fishing with anything other than fly fishing equipment. Meaning a fly rod, reel, and line with artificial flies. I honestly can't remember seeing anyone using a spinning rod in the last fifteen trips (years) to a tailwater I fish in late June and early July.

I have had the same experiences on two famous trout rivers near Roscoe New York. Over decades of fishing them from 1965 until 1996 I probably could count on one hand how many times I saw anyone using bait or spinning tackle. The two rivers I am referring to have miles and miles of all tackle water and a couple of sections of No-Kill water. The No-Kill water has restrictions of no bait, live or dead, but any sort of metal or plastic lure is permitted.

Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
PartsmanApril 17th, 2018, 1:46 pm
bancroft michigan

Posts: 140
Thnaxs Matt, and Rleep for your well thought out replys, I realize this is tricky area and I can see both sides arguments. But as for me here in Michigan the resource needs to be protected.

Mike
WbranchApril 17th, 2018, 8:59 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2286
Partsman,

the resource needs to be protected.


What resource (s) are you referring too? Some waterways are just so big and are used for different types of fishing that it is just almost impossible to gear restrict them. How can those bigger river systems be policed? If the river is 100 miles long and 100 - 150 yards wide how do you enforce a gear restriction? One of my favorite wild trout rivers also has resident populations of smallmouth bass, walleyes, striped bass, and various other fish. If a guy has a valid fishing license and catches a 20" wild brown while fishing for walleyes he is probably going to keep it unless there is a No-Kill on all trout species or a slot limit size restriction.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
IasgairApril 18th, 2018, 4:06 pm
Colorado

Posts: 60
The Cache La Poudre is a perfect example of this topic.

On Hwy 14 through Poudre Canyon the river is open to live bait, flies & lures. But up the river there is a long section of wild trout water. In this area, it's well posted that only flies and lures are to be used, and it's also catch & release. Anywhere else on the river you can keep the daily bag limit which is 4 trout.

Also, there is a natural hatchery for grayling on the river, and it's open for a limited time, and again, flies & lures only.

Most people who fish this river practice C&R, and in all the years I have fished it, I never really see anyone keep fish unless they were camping on the river, and they all, that I have seen, are in regulation.

I see game wardens driving up & down the river every time I'm there, but I have never been approached by one to check on me. Nor do I know anyone who has been checked on that river. That either tells me that the fishermen here are pretty much trusted by the wardens to be within the rules, or the wardens are to lazy to check us, and to check every fisherman on that river, say on a Sat., would take all day and part of Sunday as well. They could just be too busy to check us. But they seem to check people out more on the lakes with boaters. Plenty of citations to go around at those places.

As for policing this river, I don't know if people are just being honest, or other fishermen police it keeping it honest. Like I said, on this river everyone plays by the rules.

I think gear restrictions in certain areas of a river can definitely help the fishery if rules are followed. In the wild trout area, the fish are bigger, and much more of a challenge compared to the stocked trout they release down river.
Look at our National Parks for example. Here in the Rocky Mountain Nat. Park, there are the rules of flies & lures only, and C&R must be done. The fish are plentiful and healthy. You can't get skunked fishing there, and if you do, just put the rod and reel on ebay and never speak of it. There's a reason people want to fish Yellowstone Nat. Park. It's not only the scenery.

So yes, I'm all for special regulations on certain areas on rivers.
Jmd123April 18th, 2018, 4:45 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2192
In our (Mike & I) neck of the woods (Rifle & Pine Rivers, NE lower MI) there are not a lot of fly rodders, mostly worm-drowners and hardware slingers. I don't think most of them practice C&R, Mike in fact posted on here a few years ago about watching a couple of nice big brookies vanish into a creel of one such non-fly rodder...the Rifle gets some serious stocking so I'm not too worried about that river (though you will get bigger fish in the 15" minimum section than in the 8" minimum section...), but the Pine is all wild fish and the regs allow you to kill 5, down to 7" for brookies now. I've caught plenty of nice brookies in there but they seem to get few and far between as the season goes on, and the rainbows get smaller... I'd like to see them put some stricter limits on that stream, rather than stocking it. What saves it is the limited amount of access, a lot of it way out in the forest away from any public roads, and it takes some serious bushwacking to reach these areas so they stay pretty safe. And, provide a refuge for fish to re-populate the more easily accessible areas.

Ah, but people would piss and moan that they can't kill their little 8" brookies for breakfast, blah blah blah...

Another consequence of so few fly fishers is that the fish are quite "fly dumb" and will often belt anything that looks good. Hatch matching can be good but then again so is the old Royal Wulff!

*Sigh* Still waiting for the snow to melt...

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
WbranchApril 18th, 2018, 6:19 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2286
Iasgair,

there is a natural hatchery for grayling on the river


What do you mean by the phrase "Natural hatchery"? Were grayling ever indigenous to that watershed? I have only caught one 11" grayling in my entire life and it was probably about 30 years ago near the Maidenhead access on the Big Hole River. Lovely fish grayling are. I wish there were more of them around but it appears they just don't do well in watersheds they have to share with various trout species.

Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
StrmanglrApril 19th, 2018, 4:12 am
Posts: 119I don't see a difference between someone using a fly rod and a streamer vs someone throwing hardware as far as catching goes.

Bait fishing yes, that's something else.

Hardware fishing, based on my experience, is much harder on the fish. Hook a tiny trout w a treble hook, especially if more than one hook, is harder on the fish than the streamer w a single hook.

So I don't believe in fly only water, I do like the idea of single hook water.

As for bait fishing, it's one of the hardest things on a fish imo, because the fish get the bait so far down in the mouth. I also feel it's one of the easiest ways to hook into a fish. It should have limited area in streams that are stocked and close to urban areas where parents can take their kids.

Jmd123April 19th, 2018, 5:27 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2192
"Hardware fishing, based on my experience, is much harder on the fish. Hook a tiny trout w a treble hook, especially if more than one hook, is harder on the fish than the streamer w a single hook.

So I don't believe in fly only water, I do like the idea of single hook water."

Certainly reasonable. Sadly, one does not see too many single-hook spinners or spoons on the market. And one of the reasons I do like fly fishing is the size of the hook is usually pretty small - a #6 streamer hook is about as big as I ever throw at trout, and usually it's a size 12 dry fly. And you know, if that hook gets stuck in me (happened last summer in my right ear), it won't damage ME as much when I have to yank it out (so I can keep fishing, of course). A little spit and some paper towel took care of the blood...

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
IasgairApril 19th, 2018, 6:17 pm
Colorado

Posts: 60
Iasgair,

there is a natural hatchery for grayling on the river


What do you mean by the phrase "Natural hatchery"? Were grayling ever indigenous to that watershed? I have only caught one 11" grayling in my entire life and it was probably about 30 years ago near the Maidenhead access on the Big Hole River. Lovely fish grayling are. I wish there were more of them around but it appears they just don't do well in watersheds they have to share with various trout species.




As for the grayling being indigenous here, no sir. What I mean by a natural hatchery is, and I should have explained it earlier, is, unlike a normal hatchery with tanks and small holding ponds of fish, this natural hatchery is itself Joe Wright Creek, which runs into the Poudre.

Here's a little bit of history on it.

Joe Wright is a high mountain reservoir managed for
cutthroat trout and arctic grayling. It probably has the best
population of grayling in the state. Grayling were originally
stocked into Zimmerman Lake (now cutthroat only), above
the reservoir. At that time Joe Wright was managed for a
specific type of cutthroat trout, the Eagle Lake strain. A
spawning channel was built above the reservoir to accommodate
the spawning preferences of the Eagle Lake fish to
get a naturally reproducing population in the reservoir.

Over time, a number of the grayling escaped Zimmerman,
running downstream to Joe Wright. They found the
creek and spawning channel above the reservoir to be ideal
spawning habitat and their population exploded. They eventually
overtook the lake and outcompeted the cutthroat.
Some Eagle Lake cutthroat are still in the lake but the reservoir
is predominantly greenback cutthroat and grayling.

So that's how it happened. The State decided to make this section a natural hatchery for the grayling. There is no fishing this creek from Jan.1 to July 31. You are allowed to take four grayling home, but I don't know anyone who does.














WbranchApril 20th, 2018, 2:50 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2286
Thanks for the interesting back story on the grayling. Do you fish for them?
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Jmd123April 20th, 2018, 6:27 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2192
What a cool sounding little fishery! Don't you just love places like that? They are magical - cherish them.

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
StrmanglrApril 20th, 2018, 9:25 am
Posts: 119


Certainly reasonable. Sadly, one does not see too many single-hook spinners or spoons on the market. And one of the reasons I do like fly fishing is the size of the hook is usually pretty small - a #6 streamer hook is about as big as I ever throw at trout, and usually it's a size 12 dry fly. And you know, if that hook gets stuck in me (happened last summer in my right ear), it won't damage ME as much when I have to yank it out (so I can keep fishing, of course). A little spit and some paper towel took care of the blood...

Jonathon


I fish all methods. From bait fishing for catfish, to fly fishing trout, salmon, steelhead, smallmouth, pike to spin fishing those species as well.

You don't see them because they aren't required. If the regs required it they'd be available. In addition to tying my own flies I tie up spinners too. As I'm sure you would know, not hard to make.
Jmd123April 20th, 2018, 9:49 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2192
Yeah, customizing your own spinners saves a lot of $$$ too, just like fly tying. Lure prices are outrageous these days, especially when you consider you can lose said investment on your first cast (I have done this!). That's also why I keep my fly tying fairly simple - easy to tie up a bunch of them quickly and I don't cry about putting a full hour or more worth of work into a tree...

I deploy the bait and lures on the ice, that's what works. I suppose I could tie ice flies...but I am almost exclusively fly fishing during warmer weather (i.e. unfrozen). Some time ago I decided that I am a decent enough fly fisherman that I should be able to keep myself happy with just a fly rod. Amazing what a bit of purism will do for your fly fishing skills! No other choice...so you gotta figure it out. Truth is, all kinds of fish respond to all kinds of flies, and if you fish waters that have less flyrodders on them, they'll nail anything sometimes! It does limit your casting distance and your depth (I don't go for attaching much weight to my fly rigs, use weighted streamers at most) compared with conventional tackle. But, if you tie your own, you are catching fish on your own creations, so that adds a degree of satisfaction to the whole fishing experience. And losing $10 or more worth of lures kinda does the opposite (have done this too)...

Having said this, the boss and I will be trolling the mouth of the Au sable next week for lakers and whatever other salmonids happen to be in the area. Trolling with spoons and Rapalas, of course, but no downriggers necessary because the are up shallow in the cold water. Which has made me think about taking my kayak out there on a fairly calm day and drifting with my 8-weight and some BIG flies...

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
IasgairApril 20th, 2018, 11:42 am
Colorado

Posts: 60
Thanks for the interesting back story on the grayling. Do you fish for them?



They are on the list for this year. The problem is, the elevation is over 10,000 ft. and the winds when they blow will blow 100mph up there, give or take 10. It can get really nuts sometimes. There's a lake I used to fish that is at that elevation and it's a brookie paradise, but being that high when the wind blows, it's like being in the jet stream itself. There is literally nothing you can do.
WbranchApril 20th, 2018, 4:40 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2286
The problem is, the elevation is over 10,000 ft.


Well I guess that destination off my bucket list. At 10,000 feet I wouldn't even be able to walk up halfway. If there is a road there would be a chance I just don't know if the prevailing conditions would still entice me .
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
IasgairApril 20th, 2018, 8:27 pm
Colorado

Posts: 60
The problem is, the elevation is over 10,000 ft.


Well I guess that destination off my bucket list. At 10,000 feet I wouldn't even be able to walk up halfway. If there is a road there would be a chance I just don't know if the prevailing conditions would still entice me .



That's where you are in luck. Hwy 14 goes right along the creek. There's even a nice parking lot there. So you don't have far to walk, maybe a hundred yards at the very most. Joe Wright Res. is right off the road as well, and it's full of grayling, cutthroat, tiger muskie too. But the tigers don't do too well in that cold water.

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