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Birdman
03-27-2010, 02:12 PM
When creeling fish is it best to go ahead and clean the fish or do you just put it in your creel as is?

MBB
03-27-2010, 02:45 PM
I rarely kill fish, but when I do, I clean them right away. They are much easier to clean, and particularly the black vein on a trout's spine. Plus, if you clean them immediately, I believe they do not break down as fast.

mora521
03-27-2010, 08:04 PM
I always clean a trout immediately if it is going to be kept.

Bfish
03-27-2010, 10:48 PM
Ice them down, then when I get home I rinse and clean.

rivergal
03-27-2010, 11:11 PM
I release wild trout, but ice stock trout.
Wild trout are so beautiful and hard to catch so I gently ease them back into the current if I am lucky enough to catch one.
Stock trout go in the skillet.

ifish4wildtrout
03-27-2010, 11:12 PM
I have been wondering about this as well. I have never killed a wild trout, but plan to eat some (if I catch one big enough) while on an upcoming camping trip.

What do you do with the guts, throwing them in the stream doesn't seem right, throwing them on the bank doesn't seem right. :confused:

rivergal
03-27-2010, 11:20 PM
I saw some crows eating the fish scraps on the rocks this morning.

Jim Casada
03-28-2010, 09:37 AM
If you leave the entrails in the stream, crayfish and hellbenders will take care of them overnight. Jim Casada
P.S. I've said this before but wil do so again. On most Park streams (where there are only wild trout) you are actually doing the fish a favor by keeping them. Most Park streams are overpopulated. Also, hatchery-raise fish cannot, unless they have been in a stream for a good while, hold a candle, taste-wise, to wild trout.
On the matter of ice, I guess that's fine, but it isn't exactly a readily available comodity when fishing in the backcountry. As to when to clean trout, in cool weather it isn't necessary to do it immediately. In warm weather it isn't a bad idea, although I'm not going to stop all fishing to do this. I don't creel fish every time I go, but I will conesss, and not shamefacedly, that over 60+ years of fishing in the Park, I've robably kept over 2000 limits (strting at 10, then 7, then 5 fish). Jim Casada

AKSkim
03-28-2010, 11:48 AM
you are actually doing the fish a favor by keeping them.


Can I ask what you base that statement on?

Bfish
03-28-2010, 12:16 PM
Can I ask what you base that statement on?

Growth studies. Pretty much all of the streams in the Smokies the trout stunt. By keeping a few, you reduce competition and allow the others to grow to a little larger size.

Speck Lover
03-28-2010, 01:56 PM
Listed below are excerpt's from "Fish" in the Great Smoky Mountains that the National Park Service has provided.

Fisheries staff have been monitoring fish populations in both high elevation (>3,000 feet) brook trout streams and low elevation (<2,500 feet) large stream systems through the park since 1986. Long term monitoring surveys indicate that fishermen play little to no role in the population dynamics observed in park streams. Major spring floods and summer droughts are the driving forces behind fish population fluctuations seen both in the park and outside the park.

Although most streams in the park are very clear, cold and pollution free, they are not very productive in terms of growing big trout. Most trout in the park grow relatively fast, live only about 4 years, and die due to a lack of food resources. The diversity of aquatic insects in park streams is quite high, but the density of each species is fairly low making food resources for trout scarce. In fact, only 4% of brook trout and 30% of rainbow trout reach 7 inches. Less than 1% of brook trout and 17% of rainbow trout reach 8 inches. Only brown trout, who switch to a piscivorous (fish) diet at around 8 inches, have the ability to live beyond 4-5 years and reach sizes of nearly 30 inches!


Here is the site's address for further reading on the subject:

http://www.nps.gov/grsm/naturescience/fish.htm

old tom
03-28-2010, 01:58 PM
Clean them streamside in a small eddy. Flick the guts and head (sorry - I'm a wuss and can't eat them looking at me) into some faster moving current. The current will disburse what you don't keep and by the time you're ready to walk away, all you'll see is your footprints.

Birdman
03-28-2010, 02:11 PM
Clean them streamside in a small eddy. Flick the guts and head (sorry - I'm a wuss and can't eat them looking at me) into some faster moving current. The current will disburse what you don't keep and by the time you're ready to walk away, all you'll see is your footprints.
So, do you do this after catching each fish, or, do you catch your limit and then clean them? I just want to do what is best to preserve my catch. I'll be fishing in the backcountry and hope to take some fish back to camp for dinner.

old tom
03-28-2010, 04:39 PM
We generally don't start keeping anything until after lunch. Then we fish until we're done, usually late afternoon. Dunk the creel every now and then to keep them as cool and wet as possible. Cleaning fish is probably the least fun thing of the entire fishing experience, so we only do it once - at the end of the day. I've never had a bad experience eating a trout six hours after it was caught.

Hint - If you're in the backcoutry, be sure to clean them before you dip into the small batch bourbon.;)

Birdman
03-28-2010, 05:04 PM
We generally don't start keeping anything until after lunch. Then we fish until we're done, usually late afternoon. Dunk the creel every now and then to keep them as cool and wet as possible. Cleaning fish is probably the least fun thing of the entire fishing experience, so we only do it once - at the end of the day. I've never had a bad experience eating a trout six hours after it was caught.
Great tip on the timeframe and method. That's what I was looking for. Thanks!

GrouseMan77
03-28-2010, 05:40 PM
Can I ask what you base that statement on?

I believe Jim meant that the taking of fish is not bad for the fishery. Steve Moore (the head Fisheries Biologist at Great Smoky Mountains National Park) has backed this fact up several times.

old tom
03-28-2010, 06:52 PM
If you ever get a chance to hear one of Steve Moore's presentations, such as a TU meeting or such, by all means make it a point to attend. Most of us study trout fishing as a hobby - Steve has done it for 30 years or so for a living. He's the one who finally convinced me that it was perfectly okay to keep a few fish a couple of times a year.

AKSkim
03-28-2010, 07:08 PM
I believe Jim meant that the taking of fish is not bad for the fishery. Steve Moore (the head Fisheries Biologist at Great Smoky Mountains National Park) has backed this fact up several times.


Thank you for your response.

Guess you can't top it when the Parks Head of Fisheries states it.

GrouseMan77
03-28-2010, 08:22 PM
old tom makes a great point about Steve Moore's presentations. He is a really nice guy and obviously has a tremendous amount of knowledge about the park. I have heard Mr. Moore speak and have been able to pick his brain on a few occasions while volunteering the park.

Zach Matthews has a great podcast interview with Mr. Moore on his website (www.itinerantangler.com).

spotlight
03-28-2010, 11:35 PM
After fishing this weekend in the back country, I seen fish after fish boiling the water I could see where taking a few now and then could help, the few I have kept and eaten I just carried a plastic zip lock and while fishing I'd store the fish inside and then clean it after fishing it has been on the cool side though both times I did this.

Kytroutbum
03-29-2010, 08:26 AM
If you really want an education, work with a stream shocking crew or seine a section of stream, get under banks etc. For every fish we see, there are dozens not in feeding lanes or visible to us.

When and if you keep fish should depend on many factors. In Wyoming, keeping Brookies is greatly encouraged (Invasive there). On some streams, locals encourage keeping Rainbows while releasing the native Cutt's.

Like Jim said, toss the guts into the stream for the crayfish. Fish guts are a BEAR ATTRACTANT, so don't clean near campsite. If I need to keep the head on for length, be sure to gill them well and clean out any blood immediately. The fish in a creel are kept cool by the evaporation, put some ferns, grass etc in along with them when wetting down (NOT IN PARK !)

Randall Sale
the Kytroutbum

Birdman
03-30-2010, 08:35 AM
So, some are saying gut out the trout immediately and some are saying at the end of the day. Does either help to preserve the trout any better than the other?

old tom
03-30-2010, 10:45 AM
Maybe we're over-thinking this Birdman. I think keeping the fish cool and moist between the time it's caught and the time it's cooked is much more important than when it's gutted.

The only argument I can see for gutting it sooner than the end of the day is after several hours of being in a small creel, they will tend to curl up on you a bit - especially a fish that's about as long as your creel. It makes it a little difficult to cut around the curve. Again, the key to minimizing that is to dunk your creel often.

Oldman
03-30-2010, 12:58 PM
Swallow them whole when you catch them. That way you resolve 2 problems.

1) bear issue

2) spoilage issue



:biggrin:

Trip
03-30-2010, 01:07 PM
Swallow them whole when you catch them. That way you resolve 2 problems.

1) bear issue

2) spoilage issue



:biggrin:

mmmm sushi

old tom
03-30-2010, 01:21 PM
After you Rex. Please don't let me stand in your way.

Owl
03-30-2010, 07:24 PM
Swallowing them whole would work for 99% of the fish I catch! :) ( No, they're not all 3 inches long - I said 99%! Occasionally I catch a 6 incher! :) )


Catch and Release........causes stunted trout.


*runs and hides under rock...

adirondack46r
03-31-2010, 03:35 PM
Swallow them whole when you catch them. That way you resolve 2 problems.

1) bear issue

2) spoilage issue

:biggrin:

Good suggestion, but... I prefer to smoke 'em on the big green egg at about 200 deg for an hour or so, debone them mix them with a little lemon juice, dijon mustard, garlic, a dash of salt and pepper, a little Italian parsley, and a few capers, spread the whole result on thick slices of baguette, and polish it all off with a bottle of wine (or two). To each his own/. ;-)

Jim Casada
03-31-2010, 07:33 PM
AKSkim--Although perusal of other replies indicate that fellow forum members have pretty well testified to the validity of what I said, I will add that the statement comes, in addition to having talked with Steve Moore and other biologists over the years, from some six decades of personal experience. With some exceptions, most notably Abrams Creek, Park streams tend to be rather infertile. When you catch a nine- or ten-inch rainbow with a head much bigger than its body, there's a message--the fish is undernourished. I grew up in a household and a culture where "release to grease" was both a way of life and the accepted norm. I might also add that trout were a welcome and often needed item of diet on family tables.
While I eat far fewer fish than I once did, and probably release 19 out of ever 20 keeping-size trout I catch, I do not have any compunction about creeling fish. Were the situation different, with a fragile resource being potentially harmed by every "kept" fish, it would be different. Fortunately, as I said, the situation is much like that in a farm pond where you actually help things by keeping the bream you catch.
I would also add that I care deeply about the resource, but at the same time I am keenly attuned to traditional mountain folkways. One of them is consumption of trout, and we are all blessed by the fact that wild trout from the Park can be eaten without any impact on the resource. Indeed, that was a key part of the reasoning behind allowing fishermen to once more keep specks. Steve Moore and others, after considerable study, concluding that man had no significant impact, whether just fishing or keeping fish, on the speck population.
Others have provided external documentation, but I did want to add that one can, through common sense observation and dues paid in terms of stream time, learn a great deal. One thing I've learned is that eating trout from the Park is environmentally sound as well as being a culinary experience of great delight. In closing, I would add that if you haven't eaten a "mess" of Park trout, fresh caught, you have lived a life with a bit of deprivation. That's why I included a chapter with a number of recipes, along with information on cleaning fish, in my book on the Park.
That's way too long-winded, but there you have my perspective.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

Rog 1
04-05-2010, 11:13 AM
I can only fish the Park one or two times a year now....job and distance....my wife only asks that I bring home enough for her to eat...which I do so I can keep going...I will usually eat a meal of those jewells one night while camping....my grandfather and uncle fished weekly while I spent my youthful summers up there and they usually brought home limits each time they fished and those were eaten with relish...you cannot fish out any of the waters up there....it has been tried....the result of an attempt to fish out the rainbows over at Tremont one summer only resulted in larger and more fish being caught the next year....once the catch and release attitude returned the size of the fish decreased and the cry of too many small fish was heard once again.

WNCFLY
04-12-2010, 03:03 PM
I have no problem killing wild trout if I plan to eat them that day. As for doughbellys I really do not care for the taste of a trout raised on dog food in a concrete tank.

On a side note, am I the only one who kills their fish instantly when they plan on keeping them? I love to eat trout, but I hate to see them suffer a slow death in a creel or on a stringer. I usually kill the fish with one quick blow and in my mind I feel better knowing he really didn't suffer a slow death.

old tom
04-12-2010, 04:33 PM
No you're not the only one WNCFLY. And I didn't mean to imply from previous posts that I just throw them in the creel and let them flop around until they die. We do the same - lay them down on a flat rock and give them a sharp whack upside the head with the side of a sharp stone. Then they go into the creel.

Jim Casada
04-12-2010, 06:24 PM
WNCFly--Enjoyed your post for two reasons. (1) It was the first time I had seen or heard anyone (other thasn myself) refer to hatchery-raised trout as doughbellies in a long time. I wholeheartedly agree that they do not match the taste of wild trout--not even close, although time in the creek and a decent diet does gradually change things. (2) I too kill the trout I creek immediatedly, albeit in a different way. I stick the point of a knife into the top of their head. I don know which the PETA folks will like best, your version of a Smoky Mountain "priest" or my cutting.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

GrouseMan77
04-12-2010, 08:34 PM
Jim or anyone else - suggestions on where to get a good creel? I have looked around a little before but couldn't find one that was to my liking. Thanks.

dogfish
04-13-2010, 03:09 PM
Breezed through this forum at a glance but seems like some good chat going on about grubbin on some trout. My two cents when it comes to this issue is any fish you plan on keeping should bleed out while alive (blood is a nidus for potential pathogens); normally I would do this by pulling out some gills and then letting the fish bleed out in the water (on the issue of ethics, the acute shock the animal would go into will render the animal unconscious rather quickly followed soon by death, the same principle that commercial beef cattle and swine slaughter operations rely on as they stun the animal and quickly follow with cutting of the animals major arteries and veins of the neck). Once the trout is bled, keep it as cool as possible and the earlier you eviscerate the better (also do not puncture the intestinal tract when removing). I like keepin the heads on my fish because you can use the eyes as a decent indicator that the fish is fully cooked, because they will turn white. Also, you want to remove the gills prior to cooking, something I normally do at the same time as when I field dress the fish. Gettin hungry now....

Jim Casada
04-13-2010, 05:26 PM
Jason--I'm partial to wicker creels, both because they are traditional but also thanks to the fact they do wonderful double duty as lunch pails (just wait to after lunch to begin creeling fish, which makes sense anyway because they don't need to keep so long). I'm betting that Byron and the folks at Little River Outfitters have wicker creels in stock or can get one for you.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

GrouseMan77
04-13-2010, 05:56 PM
Jim, thanks for the response. I don't recall having seen them in the shop but I'll be sure to give LRO a call tomorrow.

BlueRaiderFan
04-13-2010, 06:17 PM
If you eat em raw, on the fly, you don't even have to worry about size limits. ;)

JohnH0802
04-14-2010, 08:28 AM
I have always (at least since I was 5) quickly rapped a trouts head on the sharp edge of a rock if I was going to keep it.

Younger Tom
04-16-2010, 02:39 PM
HAVE YOUR SON Clean them streamside in a small eddy. Flick the guts and head (sorry - I'm a wuss and can't eat them looking at me) into some faster moving current.

There. Fixed that for you.

Tommy