Author Topic: Catch and Release and a few words about fishing  (Read 1480 times)

Offline AKanders

  • IceShanty Rookie
  • **
  • Posts: 86
  • Got 'im!!
Catch and Release and a few words about fishing
« on: Jan 17, 2008, 02:15 PM »
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 their 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 horsing 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 informative 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!

    Offline nathan

    • IceShanty Rookie
    • **
    • Posts: 12
    Re: Catch and Release and a few words about fishing
    « Reply #1 on: Jan 17, 2008, 10:52 PM »
    good post! i think you nailed it on the head.

    Offline travisj88

    • Team IceShanty Regular
    • ***
    • Posts: 338
    Re: Catch and Release and a few words about fishing
    « Reply #2 on: Jan 18, 2008, 12:55 AM »
    The only problem with these guidelines is that would mean you could never keep a laker form Harding because the minimum length there is 30".
    Travis

    Offline jeepinjohn

    • IceShanty Rookie
    • **
    • Posts: 27
    Re: Catch and Release and a few words about fishing
    « Reply #3 on: Jan 18, 2008, 01:30 AM »
    No need too keep a fish anymore take a pic and have a replica made, there not as tasty when they get that big anyways plus there kinda wormy. There are lots of fine taxidermists out there that can make it exact. ;)

    Offline AKanders

    • IceShanty Rookie
    • **
    • Posts: 86
    • Got 'im!!
    Re: Catch and Release and a few words about fishing
    « Reply #4 on: Jan 18, 2008, 10:17 AM »
    Travis-

    The little I know about Harding lake tells me that it gets hit pretty hard for lakers.  I would predict that if ADFG has restricted size to 30"+, very soon there will be no retention of Lakers there.  This falls into my point about ADFG not having accurate data and making poor decisions.  If they were interested in keeping a healthy population of Lakers in Harding, they would restrict the size to UNDER say, 22".  Leave the big boys and girls to make lots of little lakers to catch.  Instate a ceiling, not a floor, if you catch my drift.   

    Keep in mind that what I posted is purely personal.  I can't tell anyone what is right or wrong, and (unfortunately) I can't dictate to ADFG what they should be doing.  I just wanted to share some of my thoughts.

    Thanks for reading!

    Cheers!

    Jake

    Offline carvels

    • IceShanty Rookie
    • **
    • Posts: 15
    Re: Catch and Release and a few words about fishing
    « Reply #5 on: Jan 18, 2008, 04:46 PM »
    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 their 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 horsing 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 informative 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!

    YOU NAILED IT! GREAT POST.  I hope other anglers reading this realize these resources need to be actively managed in this manner or they will not be here for the next generations. I see some people worried about not being able to keep a fish for a meal. I can almost guarantee there are not many ice fisherman that cannot afford to get a meal elsewhere.  Ice fishing is not an inexpensive sport (fuel, bait, fishing gear, auger, warm clothing, etc.), if your primary objective is to catch fish for a meal than you have more significant problems and decisions to make other than deciding if you should keep a fish or not.


    Drew

    Offline Fishin Fireman

    • IceShanty Mod Team
    • Team IceShanty Maniac
    • *
    • Posts: 1,058
    • Life's Tougher and Funner in Alaska;
    Re: Catch and Release and a few words about fishing
    « Reply #6 on: Jan 18, 2008, 08:26 PM »
    Thanks for the post Jake ;D

    Sometimes people don't really know how to handle fish in the extreme cold let alone how to successfully release them with minimal handling and damge.

    Hopefully this info will help our dedicated anglers have more succesful C&Rs' in the future.

    Brad
       



    Offline travisj88

    • Team IceShanty Regular
    • ***
    • Posts: 338
    Re: Catch and Release and a few words about fishing
    « Reply #7 on: Jan 19, 2008, 12:20 AM »
    YOU NAILED IT! GREAT POST.  I hope other anglers reading this realize these resources need to be actively managed in this manner or they will not be here for the next generations. I see some people worried about not being able to keep a fish for a meal. I can almost guarantee there are not many ice fisherman that cannot afford to get a meal elsewhere.  Ice fishing is not an inexpensive sport (fuel, bait, fishing gear, auger, warm clothing, etc.), if your primary objective is to catch fish for a meal than you have more significant problems and decisions to make other than deciding if you should keep a fish or not.


    Drew

    It has nothing to do with not being able to get a meal elsewhere.  I don't know about you but I think fresh fish are a delicious and nutritious meal.  I could go to Freds or elsewhere and buy fish to cook but how long have they had it. Where did it come from?  How many people handled it?  What conditions was it processed in?  I know it's cliche but I've seen many movies and documentaries about processing plants  :sick: :sick:.  I keep fish maybe 5 or six times a year to eat.  Is it so wrong to have fresh fish for dinner a handful of times a year.  I fish at least 3 times a month and over 99% of the fish I catch I release.  I agree with AKanders that Harding should change the regs..  I think there should be a minimum size and a maximum size limit there.  If you let them grow up and then let the big ones be the spawners I think that would keep the species healthy (but what do I know I'm no biologist).  All I know is I've fish Harding about 8 to 10 times a year for over 3 years and have only kept 2 fish from there (1 laker and 1 char).  I don't mean to sound nasty but I don't abuse nature and get irritated when people do.  I know If I wanted to fish another lake for lakers I could go to Sumit or go to Anchorage but I live in the interior and I love it here.  I take advantage of what we have around us here.  Once again I know we need to protect our resources because if we don't they won't be there later on when we finally get around to it, but we should be able to responsibly enjoy them too.
    Just my opinion,
    Travis

    Offline nedandned

    • IceShanty Rookie
    • **
    • Posts: 8
    Re: Catch and Release and a few words about fishing
    « Reply #8 on: Jan 19, 2008, 01:11 AM »
    I'm pretty sure Fish and Game didn't ask for the 30 inch requirement.  That was a proposal from fisherman in the area.  But I could be wrong.  Can't say that it was a good one.   Oh well. 

    Offline carvels

    • IceShanty Rookie
    • **
    • Posts: 15
    Re: Catch and Release and a few words about fishing
    « Reply #9 on: Jan 19, 2008, 03:18 PM »
    It has nothing to do with not being able to get a meal elsewhere.  I don't know about you but I think fresh fish are a delicious and nutritious meal.  I could go to Freds or elsewhere and buy fish to cook but how long have they had it. Where did it come from?  How many people handled it?  What conditions was it processed in?  I know it's cliche but I've seen many movies and documentaries about processing plants  :sick: :sick:.  I keep fish maybe 5 or six times a year to eat.  Is it so wrong to have fresh fish for dinner a handful of times a year.  I fish at least 3 times a month and over 99% of the fish I catch I release.  I agree with AKanders that Harding should change the regs..  I think there should be a minimum size and a maximum size limit there.  If you let them grow up and then let the big ones be the spawners I think that would keep the species healthy (but what do I know I'm no biologist).  All I know is I've fish Harding about 8 to 10 times a year for over 3 years and have only kept 2 fish from there (1 laker and 1 char).  I don't mean to sound nasty but I don't abuse nature and get irritated when people do.  I know If I wanted to fish another lake for lakers I could go to Sumit or go to Anchorage but I live in the interior and I love it here.  I take advantage of what we have around us here.  Once again I know we need to protect our resources because if we don't they won't be there later on when we finally get around to it, but we should be able to responsibly enjoy them too.
    Just my opinion,
    Travis


    Good points Travis and great input, I think sharing opinions is great and for the most part I don't think people posting in here feel like it is a rant. I would hope that someone at Fish and Game would dial into these post to read the input and ideas of the anglers.  There are some great ideas and I don't think anyone needs to be a biologist to understand the ideas and concerns. I am not banging on people keeping there catchs, just that they need to input some common sense so to speak and toss some back. I keep fish too because I like eating fresh fish and at this time of the year the salmon and halibut in the freezer are depleted or gone so putting a few back in that I caught and know how they were cared for is a big plus in my mind as well.  Do you live toward FBX or Tok?


    Drew

    Offline Barleydog

    • Team IceShanty Maniac
    • **
    • Posts: 1,832
    • MMMM Fish!
    Re: Catch and Release and a few words about fishing
    « Reply #10 on: Jan 19, 2008, 05:02 PM »
    Great post Jake.  Everyone usually assumes they know what to do when you catch a fish on the ice, that article illustrates the care needed to release a fish unharmed...  I must admit that my handling of trophy fish in the past for catch and release purposes was a little rough!  I'd like to add that one of the biggest additions to my ice fishing arsenal years ago was the Boca Grip style landing device.  It has saved a multitude of fish from being handled the wrong way or even at all.  It's easy to land a fish with little effort using a Boca, and it's much easier for rookies to have a quick poise with the fish, (rather than chasing them around the ice at 10 below!)  Boca's are tools well worth the investment!
    In my opinion on Harding should be catch and release...  30"+ is a trophy laker but also a valuable breeder, (like others have stated...)  I have boated close to 20 - 30"+ fish in the past year(s) at this lake and not one of them ended up in the freezer because of the want of a skinned trophy.  Replicas are the only way to go , so toss em back and do your kids a favor!  Char on the other hand are fair game for the table due to there "neutral nature."   I don't know about anybody else, but big lake caught char have a distinct four letter flavor, Y-U-C-K!  No way to improve the taste of a turd with fins! ;D   Just my 3 cents of joy...
    TEAM ALASKA

    Offline Fishin Fireman

    • IceShanty Mod Team
    • Team IceShanty Maniac
    • *
    • Posts: 1,058
    • Life's Tougher and Funner in Alaska;
    Re: Catch and Release and a few words about fishing
    « Reply #11 on: Jan 20, 2008, 02:12 AM »

    I don't know about anybody else, but big lake caught char have a distinct four letter flavor, Y-U-C-K!  No way to improve the taste of a turd with fins! ;D   Just my 3 cents of joy...


    BD: Are you sure that some of the "stuff from the treatment plant hasn't gotten into that Lake? Or is it just from those filthy rich people on that lake filtering into the water ???

    LOL

    I do believe what nedandned said is correct about the people who have cabins, fish or live on harding asked for the change in length just like the single hook clause as well.

    Someoe should research this one in their spare time and get back to us with a report.
       



     



    Follow Iceshanty at Twitter Iceshanty Facebook Page Iceshanty Youtube Channel
    Iceshanty | MyFishFinder | MyHuntingForum
    Contact | Disclaimer | Privacypolicy | Sponsor
    © 1996- Iceshanty.com
    All Rights Reserved.