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If They Swallow The Hook.... They Will Die

by: Bobby Chauvin 7/27/2016

I know this blog is going to have mixed reactions, but recently the  bite on Power bait has been strong at 11Mile. So strong that many people can achieve their limit in less then an hour if not sooner. And may folks want to continue fishing. The reality is that Trout are very fragile species of fish. Especially stockers. The odds of any cut bow stocker surviving a size 12 treble hook being swallowed and a line being cut or the hook ripped out  its stomach is very low. If you see blood from stomach hook set the fish will die. . The theory from some is that if they cut the line... and toss the fish back,  it will survive and live a happy life and I can simply continue fishing. A lip hook and a swallowed hook are two completely different ways to catch a fish and impact they fish differently. Last weekend I was fishing in my honey hole, and there was a boat that was near me that had roughly 6 fish flopping around the side of his boat taking its last breath sideways and or already deceased. I addressed this in a firm voice that this was not acceptable and the response I received ..... If the Pike don't get them the seagulls and pelicans will and then drove off. I notified one of the game officers when I got off the lake and was told that this is not illegal. The law states that there is a bag limit that can be enforced, but the mortality of caught fish being released immediately,,,, being caught legally cannot be enforced. I didn't think this was true and still question it.. I was told this is a moral issue and that he agreed with my position. Culling is illegal. Releasing a dead fish that is in your limit to get a bigger fisher. So here is my take on this: PLEASE STOP KILLING FISH FOR NO REASON WHILE BAIT FISHING IF YOU HAVE YOUR LIMIT. Use another form of fishing. Cast a spinner, go trolling, Jig off the bottom or just GO HOME and be happy for your successful day. I talk to a lot people that get so mad that they didn't catch anything and having nothing to eat from their day that, yet they see a cemetery of dead fish from people simply killing fish for no reason. Protect your fisheries people. And even more important.... RESPECT your fisheries....... Rant is officially over..... Tight Lines all!!

Blog content © Bobby Chauvin
Member comments
JKaboom, CO   7/27/2016 10:09:51 PM
Totally agree!! I had to keep a tiny stocker from Turquoise that was gut hooked on a circle hook that a child caught. We made it a good experience and the child caught, cleaned, prepared, cooked and ate the fish it was awesome. I will do the same when it happens to me too no big deal because I respect our fisheries. Where this really hurts me and it's only happened once is when I was at Pueblo and caught several smaller walleye on a leach and slip bobber. A few I knew were going to die but by law had to release them....
 
anglerwannabe, CO   7/28/2016 3:02:04 AM
you just accurately described how and why I never fish for trout with bait.
 
Tbubb, CO   7/28/2016 6:49:46 AM
For clarity, in one case you imply that hte guy was turning loos e gut-hooks that were going to die. In the other you imply that hte guy was releasing a dead fish that is in your limit to get a bigger fish. You state that it is culling, which is releasing a dead fish that was not immediately retunred to the water. One is illegal, the other not. So which was it, one, the other, or both? Or are you not sure? While I might agree with your sentiment here, the truth matters if you want to talk about regulations or you want to talk about what another person has or has not done.
 
Bobby Chauvin (BCIII), CO   7/28/2016 8:09:36 AM
Tbubb - I should have separated the two theories to make it clear for you. The guy was simply releasing gut hooked trout and not culling. I was using culling another example of illegal practices that are used, but specifically not this guy.
 
Ajax5240, CO   7/28/2016 11:26:07 AM
The challenge that JKaboom brought up can be a tough one also. A deep hooked fish that is under the size limit must be released regardless.. Stinks to throw a fish back that has a low chance of survival, but it beats getting a ticket for having an undersized fish.
 
esoxrocks, CO   7/28/2016 9:41:58 PM
We all see this often, and it does suck. Fact is, there are hordes of people who fish, but who are not sportsman. There is a difference IMO.
 
Luke the Dog, CO   7/29/2016 8:02:10 AM
So did you bother to look up the actual law or any studies on the issue? That could be helpful info for people reading this who fish with power bait in the way you described...
 
longdraw, CO   7/29/2016 8:50:28 AM
Remove bait from the equation and you eliminate the problem. It's that simple. There should be a law that states anyone over the age of seven cannot fish with bait... )
 
Salmon Slayer, CO   7/29/2016 2:45:23 PM
Keeping over the limit is illegal, as is culling, and seem to be non-issues as compared to the blogger's point of releasing fish with imbedded hooks. The responses here have been instructive, and inspired me to read up on the subject. Based on facts which I have read, I see that leaving a hook imbedded, or not removing it with extra care, is lethal in a large majority of cases. However, it is my opinion that most bait anglers (of which I am one about half the time) are quite responsible to the resource and keep most if not all hook impaired fish. And since anecdotal evidence is ruling the discussion, and not actual statistics of what percent of bait anglers release hook impaired fish, I will go one step further. My personal observations over 60 years of fishing in Lord knows how many lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, and up and down the Pacific Ocean, has caused me to respect the vast majority of anglers (yes, bait anglers, too) for their enjoyment and respect shown toward each other and the resource. I and each poster here could cite angling abuses, perhaps many. Even so, I do not see a glass half empty here regarding bait anglers. I truly believe that it is a disservice to anglers everywhere to perpetuate an echo chamber driven by an anecdotal tail wagging the dog.
 
Bobby Chauvin (BCIII), CO   8/1/2016 7:26:19 AM
The purpose of my blog was not to say all bait anglers are in the wrong and are in this category. It was simply to say that if you do, and you choose continue to use bait as an option after catching your limit, the odds of you killing fish you release is higher than not. Additionally in question to the law. It is NOT illegal to do this. The Pueblo walleye example was a great example. It is simply a matter of opinion on the ethics of fishing, as we all have our own. Hopefully this might clear the air on the intent of the blog.
 
Salmon Slayer, CO   8/1/2016 5:45:49 PM
I stand corrected on culling. I'm from Oregon and occasionally return to fish there. I clearly experienced a brain spasm and imputed Oregon's regs on culling to Colorado. With rare exceptions, once a limit in Oregon is caught, the angler cannot continue to fish for that species. BTW, maybe I'll pick me up one of those collapsible wire baskets to use when I decide to keep fish, and do some culling myself. (LOL!)
 
Fishneveryweek, CO   8/4/2016 11:27:22 AM
I wonder what the statistics actually are on survival of hooked fish. When there is no bleeding, I would expect a number of the fish to survive as the hook corrodes away. I have caught perfectly healthy trout with hooks in their stomach attached to up to several feet of line. I would expect that gill hooked and gut hooked fish have a very different mortality rate. Also, the type and size of hook matters. Another thing is the state of exhaustion of the fish when it comes in - many factors, for sure. Perhaps some studies of this have actually been done by fish and game departments. It would be nice to actually have the facts, if you could trust the source.
 
Ol Gray Eagle, CO   8/4/2016 2:39:29 PM
Well said, Bobby! I agree there is no place for bait fishing for Trout unless you intend to keep every fish that you catch.... Then again, I have been appalled at the number of times I have seen fish tossed after catching them with the response, "I don't really feel like cleaning them after all." Thanks for the rant.
 
BenZen, CO   8/13/2016 6:39:23 PM
Most of them will probably die, but I have a counterexeample. This last winter I pulled out a laker from under the ice with a cut line sticking out of its mouth. I don't know how long it lived like that (with a line in its mouth and a hook in its gut), but it was long enough for me to catch it.
 
Wmdunker, CO   8/14/2016 6:01:10 AM
The obvious solution to this problem is to add 1000 pages to the fishing regulations and several thousand fish Nazis to enforce them, sarc on. Slobs will be slobs and there is really no way to fix it without fixing our whole "entitlement" culture. Respect for self and others, including fish, game, etc. can only result from a culture that respects life and our modern culture does not do that.
 
RPG, CO   8/14/2016 9:30:26 AM
When I was guiding for trout in Arkansas we used salmon eggs or cheese for bait. We used a number 6 aberdeen hook, it's a thin wire hook. Many times during the day we would catch trout with one or two hooks and a length on mono line, where the hooks were "hooked" inside the anal opening with the eye of the hook and line trailer behind the fish. The hook and line passed through their digestive track and got hung up on their way out. Eventually the hooks would rust away. The trout were healthy.
 
Pathway, CO   8/14/2016 2:53:56 PM
CPW &CSU did a very well constructed study about 2000 that looked at mortality from gut hooking fish. Maybe one of you CPW lurkers could find that study and post the results.
 
Bobby Chauvin
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