View Full Version : Catch and Release or...

08-14-2006, 06:02 PM
Looking for some advice here. I'm new to the sub-culture so help me out. I know most people practice catch and release, myself included, but my friend Mark likes to take the fish home and eat them. I've heard that the fish struggle to survive due to over population and enviromental issues so taking home some fish actually helps. To be specific I'm talking about rainbows, not brookies. I'm sure this will strike some nerves, but I want to make sure I'm doing my part to protect our wonderful park.

Thanks in advance,

David Knapp
08-14-2006, 07:44 PM

I personally never keep fish but don't really have a problem with it as long as it is legal. You are correct about the trout overpopulating. There are tons of fish in the Smokies streams but mostly they are not very big. In my opinion, if you are going to keep a few, keep ones that are at the lower end of the size limit. The harder to find 10-12 inch fish are the ones that will be passing on the "good" genes and if people keep taking those fish out, the population may become stunted over time. I do not know for sure if this is actually true or not but it is an argument I have heard and it seems reasonable enough to me. Let me warn you also that some people may be downright upset if they see your friend keeping a few fish. This is just something that you should probably be prepared for from some people that think their way is the only way. Finally, best of all just talk your friend into catch and release... ::) 8-)

David Knapp

08-14-2006, 07:45 PM
While I think the regulation agencies in general do a good job of setting creel limits to protect these resources, if everyone took home limits everytime they went fishing, we would soon be in same situation we found ourselves in not long ago. Too few fish. *:-/ I can remember seeing in wonderment the old balck and white photos of fishing trips with creels hung up as long as close lines. No wonder the fishing died off. * :o
The only advice I would be to tell your friend Mark to take only what he will eat for dinner that night. *;) While there's definitely nothing wrong with releasing a few fish into the frying pan, trout are definitely not good as leftovers, and don't fair to well in the freezer. If you're lookin to fill the freezer, go to Alaska and fish for Halibut. * ;D My favorite eat'n !!! *:P Specially the cheeks !!! :P

08-14-2006, 08:30 PM

As I told you before, there's no harm in taking out fish from the park. The problem is like one previous poster said, if we only take the bigger ones it will temporarily hurt the fishing. In theory though, If you take a big one out soon a smaller fish will occupy it's lie and thereby grow and become the next big one. This topic has been brought up numerous times on this board and others and everyone has their opinion as well as I do. I don't think the brook trout suffered so much from those people with stringers full as much as they were hurt by logging and competition from non native fish. I really believe some harvest is good overall. The reason I don't take any home is the fact that I don't carry ice and my trip home is usually two hours plus. Imagine the fish after that kind of transportation. Anyway, don't feel bad about taking a fish now and then especially if it is a rainbow. I practice another funny peculiar thing while I'm fishing, You might not have picked up on it, but I always put the bow in one pool lower than where he came from, the brook trout always go back where he came from. I'm not about to help the rainbow crowding out the brookie. I doubt it makes any difference but I like to help the brookie if I can.

Now for something different, Are you up for some fishing this weekend? Pm or call, I got some new haunts in mind.

08-15-2006, 09:10 AM
I have posted this information before, but a park ranger told me this past February that fish biologists working in the park would prefer that more fish be taken as there are too many, in thier opinion. I don't know about taking smaller fish over bigger. However, if there are too many, taking any size would appear to leave more food for the rest, regardless of their size, improving their chances of growing larger.

Rog 1
08-15-2006, 09:17 AM
This idea about a limited food supply for the trout is true....just as with our small farm ponds down here....if some fish are not harvested the result will be a lot of little fish....the Park tried to fish out Tremont one year to help with their Brookie program...fishermen were required to keep all fish no matter the size that were not brookies.....the attempt to fish out the stream was a failure but the next year the average rainbow caught increased in size from 1-2 inches.

08-15-2006, 09:52 AM
I am all for catch and release and practice it myself. The larger fish, especially the rainbows, have much larger demands on the food sources. The result is less food spread over a large fish population which means you have smaller fish. There is nothing wrong in keeping a few fish in the 10-12" range for the rainbows but as a previous post stated, they should be consumed the same day. Trout does not keep well in the freezer.

08-15-2006, 09:53 AM
When we fish together we typically fish above the cascades at Tremont. He only keeps rainbows, so it sounds like it may be a good thing. Explaining keeping a few fish to someone streamside would probably still be a challenge though.

08-15-2006, 02:15 PM
With all due respect, no one should have to "explain" the legal harvesting of fish. Biologically, it wouldn't matter if you harvested the big or small fish. The only limiting factor on fish growth is food. If you harvested a big fish then other smaller fish would get big. Also, there are no fisherman that could catch a limit of legal fish every trip. In fact there are few people that catch fish over 12 inches at all. Pardon my rambling.

My point is simply this: People are entitled do whatever is legal, and there is some folly in thinking that we know better than the biologists.

08-15-2006, 04:40 PM
Also, there are no fisherman that could catch a limit of legal fish every trip. *

Some do !!* :) Maybe I just don't go enough. *;D

Just have fun, and tell everyone else to "Have :) a :) nice :) day"


08-21-2006, 12:38 PM
I usually turn them out, but invariably one will be hooked bad enough to look like a marginal candidate for survival, usually when take sub surface, as with wet or drowned dry. Those do make it back to camp for supper, or sometimes for breakfast if I get up really early and try my luck near the camp first. I always "poach" the trout in stream water that has boiled, as cleanup is so much easier than frying, and de-boning easier as well. Do not wipe off the "slime." Watson

08-23-2006, 10:36 PM

You are almost right. You stated, "Biologically, it wouldn't matter if you harvested the big or small fish. The only limiting factor on fish growth is food." That's not correct. Genetics matters a lot. For example, you can have different strains of rainbows achieve a different average size given the same amount of limited food, just like you can have different sized people eating the same amount of food. Many biological factors can cause this.

And to take it further, when you have a relatively heavy amount of fishing pressure, you can change the gene pool to select for small fish if you only take out the large ones. This has been suggested as one of the reasons for the average decline in size of large mouth bass over the nation, and especially in Florida.

Back to the main point of this thread, yes, the biologists usually have it managed in favor of the "average" fisherman, and if they say you can keep a few fish, then feel free to do so. I usually don't.