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Author Topic: to release or not to release  (Read 3423 times)

Offline ice coach

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to release or not to release
« on: Feb 22, 2018, 07:44 AM »
The reason im posting this is because lately ive been seeing people post pictures of their nice walleye they catch and getting shunned to no belief. Other people will post pictures of giant pike, lake trout, crappie, and so on with people saying nothing. Me personally  only get to fish for walleye once or twice a year so I keep every one I catch within the laws because the wife and I love to eat them. Just curious what you guys think. ;D ;D

Offline Hooked up

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Re: to release or not to release
« Reply #1 on: Feb 22, 2018, 07:57 AM »
Depends on the the lake/area, if the walleye are plentiful, no harm in keeping a few to eat. If the lake is not producing many, may want to put them back. I do like to see people practicing catch and release.

Offline madfrog

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Re: to release or not to release
« Reply #2 on: Feb 22, 2018, 08:49 AM »
I think they set the limits based on the population of the fish. So I wouldn't feel bad to keep em all if it's within the laws. Just my opinion.

Offline deadstick81

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Re: to release or not to release
« Reply #3 on: Feb 22, 2018, 09:11 AM »
I keep anything I can inside the law. most fisheries are put and take anyway. I have no problem seeing people keep 10 pound walleye. they paid the money to get there that is there choice

Offline RuralMT

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Re: to release or not to release
« Reply #4 on: Feb 22, 2018, 09:17 AM »
I've wondered about this myself and have read quite a bit of literature on the topic to help me form my own opinion.  I tend to only keep perch, pike and salmon and have been putting the big breeders back.  Eater-sized perch are abundant in my local lakes, but fish pushing 1.5 pounds are harder to come by.  For the sake of the future population, I prefer to throw the latter back down the hole, but I don't presume to judge those that keep them, as they're well within their right to do so (so long as it's within the regulations).  Same goes for pike...I get some dirty looks for releasing them, but big fish got that way for a reason (intelligence, good genes, and a bit of luck) and I believe it's good for the population to keep those genetics in the system.  Judge me all you like, but I find pike in excess of 30" to be a blast on a fly rod and want to catch them in perpetuity.  As far as salmon and trout go...they tend to run small in my neck of the woods, at least in the streams and creeks I fish.  I keep my fair share without much concern for size, as size rarely varies.

Offline mtcommonwalleyeguy

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Re: to release or not to release
« Reply #5 on: Feb 22, 2018, 09:20 AM »
As a primary walleye fisherman that's fished in different states, I can tell you first hand that not only in Montana, but other states as well, it's kind of taboo amongst walleye fisherman to keep the bigger fish, unless you're planning a mount. There's different statistics available on walleye breeding, but what it breaks down to approximately is fish in the 20" range have the most fertile eggs, while fish 24"+ produce less fertile, but drastically more eggs. Here in Montana, there aren't very many bodies of water that are managed as walleye fisheries, with the only notable lakes being stocked being Frances and Fort Peck, I believe (there are some smaller little reservoirs that get stocked to, but lakes like Tiber, Fresno, Nelson, ?Canyon Ferry?, Holter, and Hauser are all left to natural reproduction. It boils down to clear favoritism for trout by FWP, which I suppose is understandable due to their range and the amount of money they bring in. Thus, pulling the big mamas out of the lakes is frowned upon. Taking smaller fish is much more encouraged, as it will increase the chances of a healthy population of smaller fish that can grow into medium and large fish, as there theoretically should be more food available to them, especially since walleye grow fairly slowly.

That being said, it is perfectly in your rights within the law to keep the big fish that apply to your limit. Just don't be surprised if some folks are cranky when the fish is dead in your picture, as opposed to a picture where it is going to be released shortly thereafter. I for one put all the big mamas back and only keep the smaller fish (13"-17") usually, as there are plenty of those available in the lakes across the state.

Hope I was able to help you understand a little better!

Offline mtnfisher

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Re: to release or not to release
« Reply #6 on: Feb 22, 2018, 10:42 AM »

Offline RuralMT

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Re: to release or not to release
« Reply #7 on: Feb 22, 2018, 10:52 AM »
Mtnfisher, thanks for the chart.  That sums up my "research" quite nicely.  I had no idea that there are pike swimming around that are potentially older than I am (29).  Any idea if similar information exists for perch?

Offline MatCat

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Re: to release or not to release
« Reply #8 on: Feb 22, 2018, 11:09 AM »
I don't mind someone keeping a trophy to mount, I have one.  For walleye anymore i'll throw anything over 20" back, we have plenty of small walleye in all these lakes to take some home for a fish fry.  If you enjoy fishing for walleye, but take ten pounders home to eat, you're a moron, not only did you kill that one, but also about 300000 potential new walleyes.  Montana is so hostile to walleyes it's up to us to regulate ourselves if we want these fisheries to thrive.

Offline lundin-loading

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Re: to release or not to release
« Reply #9 on: Feb 22, 2018, 11:39 AM »
As a primary walleye fisherman that's fished in different states, I can tell you first hand that not only in Montana, but other states as well, it's kind of taboo amongst walleye fisherman to keep the bigger fish, unless you're planning a mount. There's different statistics available on walleye breeding, but what it breaks down to approximately is fish in the 20" range have the most fertile eggs, while fish 24"+ produce less fertile, but drastically more eggs. Here in Montana, there aren't very many bodies of water that are managed as walleye fisheries, with the only notable lakes being stocked being Frances and Fort Peck, I believe (there are some smaller little reservoirs that get stocked to, but lakes like Tiber, Fresno, Nelson, ?Canyon Ferry?, Holter, and Hauser are all left to natural reproduction. It boils down to clear favoritism for trout by FWP, which I suppose is understandable due to their range and the amount of money they bring in. Thus, pulling the big mamas out of the lakes is frowned upon. Taking smaller fish is much more encouraged, as it will increase the chances of a healthy population of smaller fish that can grow into medium and large fish, as there theoretically should be more food available to them, especially since walleye grow fairly slowly.

That being said, it is perfectly in your rights within the law to keep the big fish that apply to your limit. Just don't be surprised if some folks are cranky when the fish is dead in your picture, as opposed to a picture where it is going to be released shortly thereafter. I for one put all the big mamas back and only keep the smaller fish (13"-17") usually, as there are plenty of those available in the lakes across the state.

Hope I was able to help you understand a little better!

Solid reply, I thought about typing up a  response, but you summed up my feelings to a "T".

One thing I will add, I want my children to be able to someday catch the 34 inchers that grow from the 20 inch plus fish I release every year.

Offline fridayfish

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Re: to release or not to release
« Reply #10 on: Feb 22, 2018, 11:59 AM »
we all need to regulate ourselves. if you only go out once or twice a year and love to eat it than keep it. some of us have more time than others and spend considerable time out there. you don't have to turn your freezer into a fish morgue.

Offline hoofer

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Re: to release or not to release
« Reply #11 on: Feb 22, 2018, 12:32 PM »
catch them ,kill them and eat them. i do draw the line on keeping over sized fish.
fish till it hurts then fish some more

Offline HuntMT4Life

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Re: to release or not to release
« Reply #12 on: Feb 22, 2018, 02:14 PM »
As a primary walleye fisherman that's fished in different states, I can tell you first hand that not only in Montana, but other states as well, it's kind of taboo amongst walleye fisherman to keep the bigger fish, unless you're planning a mount. There's different statistics available on walleye breeding, but what it breaks down to approximately is fish in the 20" range have the most fertile eggs, while fish 24"+ produce less fertile, but drastically more eggs. Here in Montana, there aren't very many bodies of water that are managed as walleye fisheries, with the only notable lakes being stocked being Frances and Fort Peck, I believe (there are some smaller little reservoirs that get stocked to, but lakes like Tiber, Fresno, Nelson, ?Canyon Ferry?, Holter, and Hauser are all left to natural reproduction. It boils down to clear favoritism for trout by FWP, which I suppose is understandable due to their range and the amount of money they bring in. Thus, pulling the big mamas out of the lakes is frowned upon. Taking smaller fish is much more encouraged, as it will increase the chances of a healthy population of smaller fish that can grow into medium and large fish, as there theoretically should be more food available to them, especially since walleye grow fairly slowly.

That being said, it is perfectly in your rights within the law to keep the big fish that apply to your limit. Just don't be surprised if some folks are cranky when the fish is dead in your picture, as opposed to a picture where it is going to be released shortly thereafter. I for one put all the big mamas back and only keep the smaller fish (13"-17") usually, as there are plenty of those available in the lakes across the state.

Hope I was able to help you understand a little better!

As others have said this is a great summary and echos similar to my beliefs.  The other thing I will add to this is just overall quality of the meat.  I know for sure that a big walleye (over 20") tend to have softer, less firm meat.  The eater size, 13-18 inchers meat is way more firm and is a better texture for eating anyway.  Beyond the mushy meat, bigger fish who have lived longer have more time to absorb mercury and other crap that is in all of our waters and therefore may not taste as good.

Again, as Montana is mostly a trout fishery and very few lakes are managed for a walleye population it is up to the people the love to catch, eat, and just enjoy walleye to keep the population going to generations to come.  Release it over 20"

Offline onestring

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Re: to release or not to release
« Reply #13 on: Feb 22, 2018, 02:18 PM »
If it's with in the rules and you enjoy eating them keep them then who cares what the trolls say they are not putting food on your table or paying any of your bills

Offline Greenbeans

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Re: to release or not to release
« Reply #14 on: Feb 22, 2018, 03:37 PM »
I see it from both sides and support both options when one catches a large fish (keep it or release it).

The catch and release philosophies of large fish should apply to all species, if that's your standards. Large panfish reproduce and provide food for predators so they in turn can achieve larger sizes. 16"-20" bass , 20"+ walleye and 30"+ pike take a long time to achieve that size, etc., it all comes full circle. What can become irritating is the angler who criticizes keeping a big fish of one species but will post a picture of themselves with a bucketful of 12"+ perch or other large species they plan to keep. But it's ok because it's not their preferred target species.


Offline mtcommonwalleyeguy

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Re: to release or not to release
« Reply #15 on: Feb 22, 2018, 04:06 PM »
I see it from both sides and support both options when one catches a large fish (keep it or release it).

The catch and release philosophies of large fish should apply to all species, if that's your standards. Large panfish reproduce and provide food for predators so they in turn can achieve larger sizes. 16"-20" bass , 20"+ walleye and 30"+ pike take a long time to achieve that size, etc., it all comes full circle. What can become irritating is the angler who criticizes keeping a big fish of one species but will post a picture of themselves with a bucketful of 12"+ perch or other large species they plan to keep. But it's ok because it's not their preferred target species.

Agreed GB, it's the anglers responsibility to know what size the cut themselves off at. It just depends on the fisherman, I suppose. Some folks like you and I and I'd guess a lot of the folks here on IceShanty do the type research necessary to know the information about ideal spawn size, egg counts, etc. Other folks don't take fishing as seriously and don't do the research, thus don't understand the way things work. Then there's also the wrinkle on whether the fisherman cares or not, how they handle the fish...so many different things that can effect the actual catch-and-release or keep.

Offline missoulafish

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Re: to release or not to release
« Reply #16 on: Feb 22, 2018, 05:56 PM »
Some folks like you and I and I'd guess a lot of the folks here on IceShanty do the type research necessary to know the information about ideal spawn size, egg counts, etc.
Its seems the guys that are killing big fish always want to justify it with the old wives tail that big fish are past their prime...thats 100% false but it still fits their needs apparently.

Offline zimmer2

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Re: to release or not to release
« Reply #17 on: Feb 22, 2018, 06:42 PM »
I don't mind someone keeping a trophy to mount, I have one.  For walleye anymore i'll throw anything over 20" back, we have plenty of small walleye in all these lakes to take some home for a fish fry.  If you enjoy fishing for walleye, but take ten pounders home to eat, you're a moron, not only did you kill that one, but also about 300000 potential new walleyes.  Montana is so hostile to walleyes it's up to us to regulate ourselves if we want these fisheries to thrive.

Really? did not need to go to name calling to give your opinion. Could of left that out and still stated your opinion. If within the law it is their right to do as they see fit without being called names.

Offline SLIMMETT

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Re: to release or not to release
« Reply #18 on: Feb 22, 2018, 07:37 PM »
Walleye are non native in Montana.  In my opinion, keep a limit regardless of size, so long as it is legal.

Offline Strippnthedream

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Re: to release or not to release
« Reply #19 on: Feb 22, 2018, 09:02 PM »
Do a google search on Fish Lewis and Clark caught on their travels west up the missouri. I know it says sauger. Think if the sauger were here the walleye were to? Just do a quick google search of a walleyes range and where they originated. It will surprise you. Your right they are not native to Montana but they are to Canada and sh$$ does flow down hill and there’s no way they can make it all the way to North Dakota and for some reason there’s an imaginary line that walleye just don’t pass. The paddleFish some how make it all the way up but the walleye just turn around? Im over the non native Fish debate. Do some research before dams Fish traveled many miles and states up and down the Missouri. Pheasants aren’t native either lets get ride of those too. “HuntMT4Life” Keep what you want release what you want but don’t cry when it’s gone. Tight lines.

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Offline BloodShotP

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Re: to release or not to release
« Reply #20 on: Feb 22, 2018, 09:09 PM »
How can you debate “keep every fish within your legal limit no matter what” without attempting to gain a little knowledge and awareness of the animal being harvested. Come on. Mtcomnonwalleye spelled it out perfectly.

Offline HuntMT4Life

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Re: to release or not to release
« Reply #21 on: Feb 23, 2018, 08:34 AM »
Biggest question I have always had is who dictates native?  Native to me doesn't me what was there when we initially had records of what was there.  Nature is always evolving and changing to balance itself.  As we all know rainbow trout are "nonnative".  Only cut throats and bull trout are "native".  We as humans can't dictate what should be in a reservoir or lake.  We put many many obstacles in the way of the movements and migrations of every fish in every drainage or river system, the largest being dams.  Dams are extremely "nonnative"....shouldn't we remove those and let nature take its course?

As Strippin said is there some imaginary line that they just don't cross?  What if mother nature intended toothy critters to mostly take over at some point, who are we to know and dictate that?  Maybe mother nature intends for some species to become extinct, but we as humans couldn't allow that to happen.  Just because they were there to start doesn't mean something can't come in and take them out, just as mother nature intended.  Bucket biology can change any waterway, but didn't dams, irrigation ditches, and any other man made feature in a water system? 

This is a giant can of worm that started with a simple question of to release or not to release?  I guess we have all established that it is not that simple.

Offline PerchPounderMT

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Re: to release or not to release
« Reply #22 on: Feb 23, 2018, 08:34 AM »
If your staying within the regs set by the MT F&G then its really nobody's business but your own.If you are taking them home to eat them good for you.Its not like any of our waters are struggling to produce more walleyes. :tipup:There is no conceivable scenario that is going to convince me they didnt travel up the Missouri at least as far as the Falls,why wouldnt they?
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Offline Snitch#8

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Re: to release or not to release
« Reply #23 on: Feb 23, 2018, 08:56 AM »
The problem as I see it is "trying" to impose our ethics onto others!  Some of us don't keep big fish, even though they are "legal" and some do.  The law is set to give some kind of framework, so that different species are not wiped out.  Beyond that, it is up to the "sportsman" to decide what he or she harvests.  This is not just a fishing dilemma.  Near me, in Michigan's thumb, some of us support QDM, or Quality Deer Management, in order to try and develop bigger bucks.   However, doing so does not ensure that I will be able to shoot a 12 point buck next year.  You see, while I'm letting the spikes and four pt. and six pt. go, someone on the property next to me will shoot virtually anything, even if it still has spots!  But because the law allows it, I can't enforce my standards, on them!  Their license allows them the same rights as mine does me.  The thing "I" can control is this,  I can continue to hold myself to "MY" standards.  For me, 8lb plus walleye, 12" plus perch, and 6pt. bucks and below, are off limits and get to live!  Everything else is nourishment!

Offline PerchPounderMT

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Re: to release or not to release
« Reply #24 on: Feb 23, 2018, 09:23 AM »
So you have the guy that catches 1 big eye a year,keeps it,gets ribbed by every expert on the net.Then you have the guy that catches 20+ a year and releases them all with a 10% fatality rate (at best)and gets praised for his skills....makes perfect sense.
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Offline Figure ate

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Re: to release or not to release
« Reply #25 on: Feb 23, 2018, 09:33 AM »
So you have the guy that catches 1 big eye a year,keeps it,gets ribbed by every expert on the net.Then you have the guy that catches 20+ a year and releases them all with a 10% fatality rate (at best)and gets praised for his skills....makes perfect sense.

Any data to support this claim or are you just tailoring numbers to support your opinion?

Offline SirCranksalot

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Re: to release or not to release
« Reply #26 on: Feb 23, 2018, 09:36 AM »
Some of the C & R guys can sound a bit self-righteous. My wife would object to me going out if I never brought any home. She says I shouldn't be hurting the fish just for my own pleasure---hard to argue with that.
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Offline PerchPounderMT

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Re: to release or not to release
« Reply #27 on: Feb 23, 2018, 09:51 AM »
Any data to support this claim or are you just tailoring numbers to support your opinion?
Theres plenty of info available on the studys done,as high as 20% in some cases.
Dont ask

Offline rdhammah

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Re: to release or not to release
« Reply #28 on: Feb 23, 2018, 09:54 AM »
The reason im posting this is because lately ive been seeing people post pictures of their nice walleye they catch and getting shunned to no belief. Other people will post pictures of giant pike, lake trout, crappie, and so on with people saying nothing. Me personally  only get to fish for walleye once or twice a year so I keep every one I catch within the laws because the wife and I love to eat them. Just curious what you guys think. ;D ;D
I feel your pain. I once fished a small pond where I go crappie fishing.  C&R bass and pickerel. I once caught a large bass and sent it to the taxidermist.  I posted a pic on a fishing website and I got blasted for taking the fish. I no longer post pics of my bass.

Offline coldcreekchris

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Re: to release or not to release
« Reply #29 on: Feb 23, 2018, 10:41 AM »
Theres plenty of info available on the studys done,as high as 20% in some cases.
all studies have their limitations....from what I've witnessed from release mortality comes from bait and dead  stick fishing....a person with a release mentality who is actively fishing has a survival rate of near 100% in most waters..and if they think they have a situation that could kill the fish...they morally take it home and eat it...

 



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