I generally keep the fish the biologists and mortality studies tell me won't survive; the ones that bleed, and the ones that are hooked in the gills. Everything else goes back unless the biologist over the stream tells me otherwise. I can't throw one back that I know will die unless it is illegal to keep him, any more than I can shoot a dove and not make an effort to find him. I majored in biology in college and the only time I get to use it is in my hobbies, hunting and fishing. As a result I get along with most biologists quite nicely. If I am going to fish a stream a lot, I am going to talk to the biologist over it and see what he wants me to do. Most of them are nice as they can be and they know what is in their streams and what is in there. Most people don't realize it, but approximately 5% of what we catch dies no matter how careful we are. I am a little funny, but I have a problem with throwing something back that I know has little chance of surviving.
I am new to this board, so I was a little hesitant responding to this, but what the heck. I am good friends with two trout biologists, one in SC and one in Virginia. I called them the first time I ever started fishing their streams seriously. That was years ago and now I can call them with any question I might have.
One of them explained to me that a body of water can only support so much poundage of fish. You have to decide whether you want a whole bunch of little fish, a small number of big fish or a happy medium. ----- I only fish the South Holston a couple of times a year and I have never talked to the biologist, but I know people who have. I would suggest somebody who fishes up there call him and ask him what he thinks. If you are fishing any river a bunch I would suggest talking to the biologist over it and see what he says about how he wants you to fish it. Most of the limits are set for a reason-- so the biologist can manage his stream for the overall health of the river. I don't mean to sound like I am preaching, but it never, ever hurts to talk to a biologist about his river. You can learn a lot and they appreciate it to.
Last edited by 5xtippett; 11-16-2011 at 12:07 AM..