Caught a TIger Muskie today, IT was only 18inches but It died. Did I do the right thing?
Post By: EngineerDaddy Posted: 7/24/2012 8:19:33 AM Points: 180
So I was out bass fishing today when I threw into some surface weeds when all of a sudden I get a monster hit, I bring her in and to my surprise it's a tiger muskie! I was using a crank bait and he hit the first hook and the second treble hook ended up in it's gill, by the time I got the hooks out he was dead. He was only 18 inches and the law is they have to be 36 inches to take. I took it anyway since It was dead. Was I in the right or the wrong?
Reply by: FishSeal Posted: 7/24/2012 8:35:54 AM Points: 4587
engineerdaddy, First, by law, that would've been harvesting an undersized fish, punishable by fines. Second, you're very lucky, that's a pike, not a tiger musky. So, you're safe. Nice catch.
When you get a chance, you may want to read the Fish Species account and associated forum posts for TM and Pike. There are vital tidbits of identification within those posts.
Unfortunately, the way the law is written, if you accidentally catch the wrong fish or it's undersized, you must release it... even if it's going to die. I see this with bass in Horsetooth less than 12". However, if it is released the number released isn't so bad and most of the time, nature will benefit from it, whether raccoons, piscivorous birds, or the nitrogen cycle completing itself.
Remember, all you can keep is stated in the regs. Anything outside of that could result in fines and imprisonment.
Reply by: FishSeal Posted: 7/24/2012 8:43:13 AM Points: 4587
You're most welcome. When they're small, they can be difficult to identify by coloration. However, there are other characteristics you can use.
"Hammerhandles" are awesome to catch and as Brad mentioned... there are some big ones in there. I expect that soon they will be established and it will be interesting to see how the environment adjusts to the additional recruitment.
It is kinda funny/sad when rockfishing or rockcod fishing in really deep water. Places like Cali, Oregon, and Washington have all kinds of size limits now on certain species. These fish ALWAYS come to the surface with their eyes bulging out, their innards hanging out of their mouth, and their swim bladders swollen. Every released fish, floats sideways on the surface until the gulls have their way with it. On larger fish, like Black Sea Bass, protected in CA waters, I have seen a large needle used to pop the swim bladder via a carefully placed puncture.
I have personally been bass fishing, and could not get through the swarm of rainbows that were freshly stocked. Many of these trout ended up dead, due to the heavy tackle and bigger hooks we were using. At the end of the day, there was a nice pile of dead bows in the shallows in front of us. This killed me. The ranger at Pyramid lake in CA, allowed me to salvage them, but it is true, a short fish, or fish over the limit, regardless of the fact that it died, does put you in violation. This is a tough one.
At any rate, nice job with the pike! Always good to see pike. Here is one theory that I have. According to some biological reports that I have read, something like 98% of tiger muskies are sterile. There is a small window, however, for breeding to acually happen. I believe that tigers will geneticallly become pike if given the opportunity, just like lakers and brookies while making splake, will eventually become brookies again, if given the opportunity. Is there a biologist that can verify this for me?
Reply by: Abel1 Posted: 7/25/2012 8:02:21 AM Points: 99
FishSeal is correct. I caught a 16# native steelhead on the Columbia river with a guide. Unfortunately when I got it to the boat it gasped and a lot of blood came out of the gills. We tried to revive it but no luck. The guide told me the best thing to do was let it go down the river. Now there wasn't anyone around and it was snowing so who would have known? Natives were illegal to keep and it hurt to watch it go but I appreciated the integrity of the guide and fully understood that if the law would permit us to keep something because it died then we would probably keep everything. The law is the law and its not worth the risk. Don't convince yourself that you have a believable story to tell the wildlife officer unless you have your checkbook in hand.
Reply by: Badfish II Posted: 7/25/2012 12:21:59 PM Points: 3407
It sucks to release fish that are going to die but that's the law... A lot of people can't get their head around said law. It's going to die anyway, what's the problem...? The problem is that some people will start taking under sized/protected fish and if they got caught they would tell the ranger that they were gut hooked and were going to die anyway. This is why the law says you have to release the fish no matter what. Keeps the dishonest, disrespectful people from poaching fish.
Swigs... You don't have to work for the DOW to buy a hat with the DOW emblem on it.. And I would find it really hard to believe that a Division of Wildlife officer would:
-Not know how to identify a Pike vs. Tiger Muskie OR -Get on here and ask if keeping a fish that he thought was undersized was doing the right thing.
If the fish being dead was a good excuse to keep a fish that was not legal, do you know how many people would just kill the fish to keep it? "I dunno what I'm doing wrong officer, all 50 of these trout died from some sort of blunt trauma to the head while I was reeling them in.. Must be a big rock out there or something.."