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fishing spawning trout? morally correct?

Post By: goosebuster      Posted: 4/20/2009 5:33:10 PM     Points: 1840    
I saw a guy keep a 26 inch female rainbow as she was spawning up a creek the other day and it made me question the morals behiend keeping spawning fish or yet even being allowed to interfere with their journey to spwan.... just food for thought... not sure i agree with the ability to keep spawning fish but maybe thats just me
 Reply by: DEN-ICE      Posted: 4/20/2009 5:45:32 PM     Points: 63
no they should be handled carefully and let go. it's proper. personally when i see people huddled around a spot picking off spawning ladies, i move away looking for the aggresive males roaming the outskirts of the female concentration.

as far as the morality goes, you can't expect most people to honestly know the difference between a male or female, let alone know anything about fish reproduction and how humans can affect it.

i would never vocalize it unless it was a kind passing of knowledge to someone i was already talking to. not something that you should get worked up about

hope that makes sense!
 Reply by: channelcat13      Posted: 4/20/2009 5:48:39 PM     Points: 1973
I wouldn't expect a clear answer on this issue since this is a question of morality. Again, the disconnect between law and ethics is very wide, however, and although I usually find myself defending the catch and keep camp of thought, there are plenty of instances (such as this) where just because something is legal does not mean that it is "right." I can think of just as many examples of legal phenomenon that is downright "wrong."

Many of the biggest fish taken each season are loaded with eggs and are more vulnerable due to their occupation of the shallows. If you are hunting larger fish for more meat (and just that) then you are likely going to bring home a few thousand eggs with each catch. Either way, it erks me a little bit when someone says, "Man, she looks loaded with eggs, I sure hope you released her." No one needs to feel guilty about their kill. On the other hand, I completely respect C and R practices (even selective ones) and I can understand that under that paradigm, a "loaded" fish is more than just "meat" on a table, it is a fishery-sustaining machine! This too, is respectable.

I remember a bass fisherman making some snide comments to me when I was a kid as I was placing my biggest ever (6 lb) largemouth on a stringer. It was May. I caught it shallow. You can bet it was protecting its nest. Of course, the snappy kid in me finally told the guy who was telling me, "It's sure a shame you're gonna keep that big mamma," "I am a game fisherman and not a sportsfisherman." I was eight and already knew where to stick that kind of criticism (especially towards a kid).

To each their own! I believe that fisherman have as much of right to keep a "loaded" fish as they do to get angry over others doing it.

 Reply by: channelcat13      Posted: 4/20/2009 5:57:37 PM     Points: 1973
DEN-ICE makes a good point. There is a big difference between recognizing that something is off and vocalizing it to a complete stranger. Of course, we all have a threshold which when crossed will warrant a "justified" statement or two. That is human nature. Allowing people to continue in ignorant, hurtful, or dangerous ways does not help anyone, including the "perpetrators" themselves. On the other hand, there are names for people that continually offend others at the drop of a hat. A fisherman (perhaps DEN-ICE) recently told me that I have to "pick my battles." I believe this is true. I personally, save my on-the-water comments for folks who are blasting trout with 12 gauges at Lee's Ferry (oh, yeah, I think they took the whole "cast and blast" thing a bit too far...)

 Reply by: deadhead      Posted: 4/20/2009 6:17:31 PM     Points: 256
personally, I don't do it, and I tend to figure that male or female, spawn starts a week before I really think it's on, and continues until I no longer see any signs of it. But that is just for me. My friend brought home a beautiful fat brown trout last year in the fall, and I said something to him, but he is my neighbor. As long as what I see out and about is legal, I will most likely say nothing, even if the behavoir is rude. If it is illegal, I will usually try to start a friendly conversation, and see where peer education gets me, but I wouldn't hesitate to call in a stubborn lawbreaker, although I haven't ever needed to.

just my .02, although I really try not to force my oppinions on anyone unsolicited....

 Reply by: kokaneefan      Posted: 4/20/2009 6:24:58 PM     Points: 232
I grew up fishing the steelhead runs on the Root River in Wisconsin. This fishery was kind of an interesting situation (fish didn't naturally spawn successfully, but they were spawned by the DNR at a fixed location on the river). Our best fishing was downstream of the weir where the DNR collected fish, so we frequently caught females loaded with spawn. The prevailing belief there was that people would keep 1 or 2 fish for eggs a year and then carefully release the rest. Not everybody followed this, and there were definitely people that kept every fish they caught, but people for the most part were polite to each other.

I definitely don't like to keep spawning fish where they do spawn successfully, but I understand why people would, whether for dinner or for dinner and bait. I hope people think about how they're effecting the fishery and act accordingly.
 Reply by: Ryan      Posted: 4/20/2009 10:24:11 PM     Points: 2551
Are trout even able to successfully spawn in Colorado lakes?
 Reply by: goosebuster      Posted: 4/20/2009 10:59:54 PM     Points: 1840
yes... there are tons of lakes/rivers that have only native fish and arent stocked. if fish didnt spawn naturally there wouldnt be very many fish in colorado unless the dow had unlimited funds to stock every thing. blue mesa the browns spawn naturally up the gunnie, you can usually tell the difference between a stocker and a native fish even if theyre the same species just by the coloration and shape
 Reply by: aaron lee      Posted: 4/20/2009 11:13:39 PM     Points: 427
Is there a difference between taking a female during the spawn and taking one after or before the spawn? Regardless of when they are taken, they are at some point going to release eggs. I have always been confused with this arguement. Not just about trout but about every species when this conversation comes up. Is there ever a good time to take a big fish? I am 90% catch and release, and only take smaller fish, but have no problems if you are within the regs. Ethics are individual, and your ethics for fishing and for other aspects of your life are probably not exactly the same as anyone else's, but we all have the same laws. If someone is out of your ethical boundary they may be within theirs so I always keep my mouth shut, but when it comes to laws...I'll let you know you are in the wrong.
 Reply by: channelcat13      Posted: 4/21/2009 12:49:51 AM     Points: 1973
This is an educational discussion here. I am learning a lot from it. At the risk of being called a postmodernist/subjective ethicist, I will say that "morality" and "correctness" are mutually exclusive terms (kind of like law and morality). Correctness is a reference to a claim of fact that can be empirically proven to be valid or not valid (it is binary, cold, existential, and free of judgement--it is objective). Morality, the state of judgment and normative hierarchies. Taken together then, the infinite range of one's interpretation (judgement) could never be reduced to mere "valid" or "not valid" binaries.

Attempts to have pushed morality as if it were indeed objective/rational "Truth," have led to: genocides, crusades, manifest destiny, holy wars, colonization, imperialism, race wars, and other us/them dichotomies (something Flyroddn always warns us about) that make it a little easier to otherize, dehumanize, and eventually destroy other people (as evidenced by the "roach" rhetoric used to incite tribal wars in Rwanda).

So back to the issue of fish (I love doing philosophical circles around simple/pragmatic questions)... The law is really the only line that we can all point to and say, "Yes your behavior is verifiably "correct "or "not correct (validity)." Many of the people that post here claim that they are OK with what others are doing so long as they are not breaking that line (the law). Interestingly, however, several anglers have pointed out (myself included) that laws can be arbitrary, against the will of sportsmen/women, and have no basis in morality (e.g. - laws let us do lots of really bad stuff all the time-especially if profit is to be made). My previous arguments about law came from the critical legal studies (CLS) school of thought that argues that our legal system, coming from the European legal system, is a systematic means to protect private property owners (those in power) from the non-owning (working class) people who might challenge the stasis of those who are already in power. The complexity of law ensures that average citizens cannot access its complex Latin codes. Lawyers must be hired to do this. Expensive lawyers provide more legal recourse and thus the more money you have, the louder/more significant your voice is.

Respecting the law is (usually) a good idea. I like to view all decisions that I make, however, from the wider perspective of, "Is this intuitively wrong?," rather than, "Am I breaking a law?" Do I care if you jaywalk and nobody is around to see it? Do I care if you wish to slowly kill yourself with substance x if you are an autonomous adult and derive pleasure from it and are not hurting others? Do I care if you downloaded music? "Sharing is illegal by the way!" Don't share! I know lots of people who are quick to quote rules/laws as if you should feel ashamed of your actions simply by virtue of breaking the law. Some laws are good. Some laws are not. Power tends to corrupt... Think for yourself!

By listening to all of you really intelligent, thoughtful, and passionate anglers, I can see some great reasons now why a spawning trout should be left to do its thing. This has more to do with your narratives and very real/human stories that compel me to empathize rather than some freak'n penal code. I am a big boy and life is full of penalties. We must pick our battles and (for the long term) work to change the system rather than reject it completely.

The fish philosopher...

 Reply by: awskeet      Posted: 4/21/2009 1:00:00 AM     Points: 473
Good point aaron.....

CC13 ---- WHAT??? Big words confuse me.
 Reply by: Catfish goon      Posted: 4/21/2009 1:05:51 AM     Points: 4474
honestly, every time I hook into a fish that is about to lay eggs, I immediately let her go because it's the right thing to do for the lake. I am selective harvest, but it's just common sense to me.

IMO, I think they should do what they do in many other states, and close fishing for certain species during their spawn times. I guarantee you if we did that, the catch rate for bigger walleyes would go up considerably, as well as bass, and many species of trout.

 Reply by: Flyfshyr      Posted: 4/21/2009 2:49:04 AM     Points: 122
Interesting topic. FIrst, I have fished over, under, in front of, behind spawning fish, be they trout, bass, crappies, northerns, carp, I have not discriminated. So yes, I have and I have enjoyed catching and sometimes killing and eating those pre-spawn, spawning and post-spawn fish. I have never broken the law in this pursuit and I sleep well at night, even with a full belly. I am not a bad guy.

That said, I have learned a few things and come to some conclusions of my own that I apply to my own behavior. In one area my stomach dictates what I do since I do love to eat and prepare fish, anything that takes away from that experience makes me think twice about catching a fish at that time. Take trout for example, a female loaded with eggs loses considerable body fat and muscle (meat) to house the eggs, just remember how thin the belly walls on such a fish, plus my experience has been the meat is oft times not as firm, even mushy and again, not the gastro-delight it could be. This tends to eliminate them in the spawning and post-spawn phase. Add to that trout in particular are in high stress mode during spawning for all kinds of reasons, increased vulnerability to predators, hormones, rigors of spawning, etc and mortality of fish caught on their beds is likely higher, especially bigger fish which expend so much energy spawning, including males which are making beds, protecting and policing them. So while catching them is fun because many times it is "sight-fishing" and you can see the fish take your fly, if I am truly interested in the resource, and I believe that I am, then adding to the stress and mortality of these fish at this time is counter-productive and counter intuitive and I choose not to fish to a fish on it's bed.

And I have to say IMO the solution is not to ban fishing during the spawn, especially for trout since at any given time in the spring, fall and winter different species of trout can be spawing. It would be "problematic". It's my understanding that spawning in lakes for trout is only marginally successful and it takes a stream with good flow to sustain populations so in a stream or river, if there are known spawning areas then I would be in favor of closing them during the most significant spawn periods in the year, depending upon which strain of trout are there, it will vary. And I am quite sure that is also not a perfect solution.

I feel much the same about bass on their beds.

However, with crappies which congregate pre and spawn close to structure, like the dam face at John Martin or Bonny and the reason to go in the spring is to b/c I can find them there and catch a bunch. And I go planning to take advantage of that fact, which is counter-productive and counter intuitive to the spawing success and future of crappies in those lakes, but I go nonetheless b/c they're dam good to eat! Oy, maybe I am a bad guy.

Maybe I'll fish Adobe that doesn't have much of a dam face and fish only in the tamarisk--does that still make me a bad guy? a rationalist? Bad rationalist?

hmmmm, Something to contemplate over a nice steak. Do you think a cow would want to come back as a trout or a crappie?
 Reply by: Japo      Posted: 4/21/2009 4:47:24 AM     Points: 53
Tho this is more of a moral discussion. I think everyone needs to ponder the points in aaron lee's post. Taking a female out of spawn apposed to one full of eggs will have the same end all impact on the fishery (yes protecting beds may be different).

This has been stated a lot in recent years by well known marine biologists. As obvious as it seems to many, some still choose not to believe it. Don't kid yourself, taking a female out of spawn still impacts the fishery.

If this is a question of morals, its always "to each his own". If this is a question of impact then just think about it logically.
 Reply by: channelcat13      Posted: 4/21/2009 9:26:39 AM     Points: 1973

 Reply by: goosebuster      Posted: 4/21/2009 9:32:57 AM     Points: 1840
wow... these responses have really opened my eyes for both sides especially on the side of the people that dont release being that i dont keep fish hardly at all. and arron lee had a exelant point aswell about the difference of takeing a female before or after the spawn is the same as durring the spawn. im defintally still for releaseing them but the arguments posted defintally are worthy of consediration on both sides
 Reply by: skiftbl      Posted: 4/21/2009 9:42:11 AM     Points: 20
Morality can be defined in so many different ways I think this question doesn't have an answer. It seems to me that if keeping these fish was a threat to the species, there would be state or local regulations against it. Great thoughts from all.
 Reply by: MSU_Angler      Posted: 4/21/2009 10:13:21 AM     Points: 439
Iím not sure I follow the logic that harvesting a post spawn fish has the same effects as harvesting a spawning fish (I do see your point with pre-spawn females). Harvesting fish that are spawning will have a much bigger effect than harvesting the same fish once it is spawned out. You are losing an entire cycle from that fish.

In my experiences, I am a not a big fan of keeping big, spawning fish. This is for two reasonsÖa) I donít think they taste nearly as well and b) I donít mount many fish (Iím content with pictures and replicas if necessary). I will not keep a big female of any fish with the exception of panfish and perch, which I love to eat. I donít intentionally fish trout on redds, and while I donít criticize those who do, I will a lot of times politely take the time to explain to them why I choose not to fish them and that there are often plenty of fish in the pools adjacent.

Some folks are headhunters, and they donít care one way or another. Iíd prefer they not do this, but they are within their rights to do it if they are following legal methodsóI have seen a lot of people intentionally ďlineĒ big steelhead and salmon, and that type of thing really bothers me .

I went through a phase as a kid where I snagged, netted or lined fish just because I enjoyed the praise and attention. I got over that pretty quickly when I realized that some of the best parts of fishing involve the story. Those stories aren't nearly as fun to tell these days...I'm more embarassed than proud about those ones.

Also, I believe itís two totally separate cans of worms when you are talking about sight fishing for spawning fish like trout and bass or if you are fishing blind (trolling) and happen to catch a fish full of eggs.

Just my opinionÖfor what itís worth.
 Reply by: awskeet      Posted: 4/21/2009 10:49:59 AM     Points: 473
CC13 - great comeback!!! haha

I do enjoy reading your replies.. Peace
 Reply by: channelcat13      Posted: 4/21/2009 10:56:45 AM     Points: 1973
Yours too, awskeet! I am just havin fun! Even my own students critique my language so I guess I have it coming. This is a really interesting thread, however, and I know I am learning from all you guys.

See ya on the water!

 Reply by: Flyrodn      Posted: 4/21/2009 11:21:37 AM     Points: 184622
The factors on harvesting fish while spawning or during a spawning period is complex. For expample, many fisheries we have would disappear where is not for stocking as on some waters certain species are unable to spawn successfully, including trout. So taking ripe fish on these waters doesn't affect the fishery. On other waters the taking of spawning fish can really casue havoc. The trick is knowing which is which, so I error on the side of release.

There is one point I wish to make. In my opinion, and there is some research to back it up. If we want "big" fish in our waters, then we need to be proactive in protecting those fish. Harvesting trophies, especially when they are in spawn has the potential to remove the genetics from a water that lend to the growing of big fish. There is ample evidence to show that consistently harvesting the best results in a water full of smaller fish. Stunted 'gills are a prime example. Take the big boys and there's nothing to keep the fry in check.

The analogy I use is a farmer. When he harvests, say cattle, he retains the best for breeding stock and harvests the rest. If he didn't he'd soon have an inferior herd and make less money. Yet we as fishers persist in harvesting the very thing we most desire, big fish. Even our regulations tend to promote that, look at the 15 inch size limit on bass. CDOW is encouraging the harvesting of the biggest fish, which research has shown in the long run results in smaller fish.

So I don't view it as much a question of whether we should fish during spawn as a question of what should we harvest. I advocate minimizing the harvest of trophy fish, thus preserving the genetics for big fish, and harvesting smaller fish. So if you're fishing spawning fish, release the best and keep the rest.

Ok, time to step down off the soapbox.
 Reply by: Coyute      Posted: 4/21/2009 12:39:56 PM     Points: 146
I hate it when I am trying to spawn and some chump in rubber pants tosses a double cheese burger on a treble hook at me!!
 Reply by: Tie1On      Posted: 4/21/2009 1:19:59 PM     Points: 26
Not to sound horribly naive, but how do you tell the difference between m/f trout?
 Reply by: Catfish goon      Posted: 4/21/2009 1:26:54 PM     Points: 4474
the females will have the bigger bellies, typically since they hold all the eggs....

and the males, well...... they will ejaculate all over your hands when they are in their spawn mode.

females will usually be holding on the rocks, trying to deposit their eggs. they are usually sitting ducks. males will be on the outskirts, and will usually be more aggressive than females, who are too busy doing their thing.

 Reply by: BITE ME      Posted: 4/21/2009 1:29:16 PM     Points: 427
We have messed with the genetics so much not many fish have the natural
instinct to run up river and spawn thats thy we see so many fish on the sandy section of the lake trying to spawn, but trout need moving oxygenated water to complete the cycle, I feel we all should let the spawn river run fish go. that just me !
 Reply by: channelcat13      Posted: 4/21/2009 1:44:10 PM     Points: 1973
Nice replies! Thanks for weighing in Flyroddn! I am always interested to see what you have to say.

Oh, and for the record, I really, really don't want anything "ejaculating" all over my hands (or any other part of my body).

Cheeseburgers on trebles? Yeah, that might distract me from spawning as well (especially a double-double from Inn-n-out burger). I don't know if those exist in Colorado or not.

Still a good thread...keep it going....I just came out of my argumentation and debate class and I say the same thing....keep it going. We learn through synthesizing the ideas of others through clash and discourse. This means more to me than "preaching to the quire."
 Reply by: awskeet      Posted: 4/21/2009 2:04:58 PM     Points: 473
Inn n Out burgers huh? None that I know of in CO. Are you in Arizona or Nevada??

Funny side story....... My brother (Bronni) and I hit Windsor about a month ago. We were done fishing and walking back to the pick-up. We started talkin to this fella bout fishing. He said he just landed a nice rainbow that shot white stuff all over his pants.......He couldn't, for the life of him, figure out what it was......I could hardly keep my composure.......I have perma-grin now, just typing the story......
 Reply by: DEN-ICE      Posted: 4/21/2009 4:22:49 PM     Points: 63
aaron the way i see it, there's never a good time to take a trophy home that isn't mortally wounded.......

but as far as the spawn goes, if you take them afterwards at least you know their thousands of eggs are out there getting bombed with the gooey stuff :) and not just going down your drain

seems like everyone has a good point to add here, that really helps me see the other side of the argument.

and for the record i have nothing against taking fish, i just grew out of eating them, i'm more of a shrimp guy these days
 Reply by: wackyman      Posted: 4/21/2009 5:14:09 PM     Points: 106
My rose colored glasses broke years ago. Having heard about and witnessed the taking of spawning fish I've deducted there are many factors involved besides morals. For example, snagging hooks, legal during kokanee season and for that purpose only. But when I see people site fishing 6-8 year old largemouths on beds and trying to snag them with those hooks. Sorry I have no tolerance. A law is being broken, that particular fish took that long to get to brood age in a cold water state, it's in a small pond or lake and maybe one of only a few expected to re-stock the lake, and it's not permissible because in your culture it is. Too many of the local ponds are dead zones because of people and their lack of respect, lack of knowledge of species, disregard for laws, and cannot exhibit temprence. One of the most sickening of which I witnessed years ago. I use to fish Rocky Mountain lake every spring with the fly rod for spawning crappies that were visible from the bank. That came to an abrupt end one spring when I saw no fewer than fifty people standing there with line tied to the end of a stick and five gallon buckets, literally I thought they were catching flying fish. The crappie population was decimated and never returned. This is what happens when we all assume a faith in people to do what is right, most will, those that don't we suffer for. Another prime example is spawn at Quincy, I've watched five fisherman wade through the beds pushing the females away and have to start the process all over, thank goodness for the rangers there or it would suffer the same fate as some of the other lakes in town. There's a reason we all look for new lakes that have fish in them, why we ask questions about where on here, because every year one of our old haunts goes dry as far as fish are concerned and we are in a never ending process to find new ones.
I wasn't aiming to be politically correct with this, the law is the law, take what you want, no problem. Take more and I see you I call the cops, do it the wrong way and I see you I call the cops. Each to his own morals, if you fish enough you see it all and I have.
 Reply by: Tbubb      Posted: 4/21/2009 5:40:39 PM     Points: 7492
There are no native browns or Rainbows. The only native species to CO in terms of trout are the cutthroats. The rest are introduced.

Catfish Goon,
Unless I am mistaken, a brown or rainbow trout laying eggs in a lake ius a lost cause- they won't hatch. Don't feel bad about keeping them.

Can someone tell me if it's valid? In my observation the males tend to have brighter cheeks and more white on the lower fins, as if it was an aposematic coloring, warning of the oncoming ejoculation.
 Reply by: goosebuster      Posted: 4/21/2009 5:48:45 PM     Points: 1840
yes... browns are from germeny and rainbows are from california but they have basically become a naturally occuring species that have taken over and often can reproduce on their own. they now inhabite many ponds and streams that they were not orginally stocked in
 Reply by: Catfish goon      Posted: 4/21/2009 9:17:39 PM     Points: 4474
usually the only time I see fish laying eggs is when I'm at Georgetown or Jefferson, when they stack up the inlet areas and make their presence known. fish do spawn naturally in CO if they got the right habitat.

I also believe the rainbows in Aurora have to be natural as well....
 Reply by: Pathway      Posted: 4/22/2009 10:01:47 AM     Points: 542
This is not a question of morality, but rather one of ethics. Morality is how we treat other humans The big picture stuff. Ethics is rules to live by, which includes our attitude toward animals.
Keeping large spawning fish is usually just a matter of ignorance, not malice.
The larger a fish is the more important it is to keep it's genes reproducing if it is in an environment where it will successfully spawn. It has been the most successful in that system, so its important to keep that genetic strain going.
I wonder if the bigger questions is should fishermen be wading in streams and rivers during the spawn. I would think many more eggs would be destroyed this way than by harvesting a single fish.
 Reply by: BITE ME      Posted: 4/22/2009 12:00:52 PM     Points: 427
Pathway very nice response That should get everyone thinking

 Reply by: deadhead      Posted: 4/22/2009 6:20:34 PM     Points: 256
PW- Indeed that is a great point. Especially during the brown spawn in the fall as those fish are not stocked in nearly the numbers or frequency of rainbows, and in someplaces like the poudre, they have not been stocked in many years, and are a self sustaining population. Most bass lakes are also not stocked beyond the initial attempt to populate the lake which necesitates being careful around their beds also.

A nice pair of polarized glasses helps tremendously with this task, and after learning what the redds of spawning fish look like, (they each differ slightly, but share many similar qualities), with a little caution and planning avoiding these areas is rather simple. If there is no way to wade to where you want to be, then another area should be found to fish in, although if you can clearly see redds, then casting to a deep pool on the outside edge should be rather easy, and fairly productive.

just my .04, (since I already put in my .02 on this subject.....)

 Reply by: Always_Angling      Posted: 4/23/2009 8:45:34 AM     Points: 142
This has been a very interesting discussion. I have to agree that taking a "trophy" fish out of spawn has the same effect in the long run as it does if you take the same fish during spawn. The fact is that that fishes characteristics that allowed it to become a trophy will not be passed on to future generations...if it's taken pre-spawn, during or post-spawn, it's still being taken. I think that it is long overdue that CDOW looks at some of their regulations and make some changes...the 15" minimum size for bass is the perfect example.

As a kid, not knowing any better, I kept anything that tugged at the end of my line. Now as an adult I practice both catch and release and selective harvest. I have given myself some rules to live by and intend to incorporate them in the guide business that I plan to start in the very near future.

This is what I plan to require my customers to agree to prior to contracting my services.

#1. Any "Trophy" size fish caught must be returned to the water. "Trophy" will be defined as any fish of any species that would qualify for the "Master Angler" as defined by CDOW. In place of the fish the customer will be provided with an 8" x 10" framed digital photo and application with witness signature for the Master Angler Award. The only exception to this rule will be for a fish that qualifies for a state record.

#2. Any fish caught from a known spawning bed must be returned to the water immediately regardless of size pertaining to slot limits or numbers pertaining to bag and possession limits.

All other fish will be considered "fair game" within the rules and regulations set forth by CDOW. I will however teach selective harvest and encourage the release of bigger fish. It is my belief that not only do the big boys and girls pass on their traits to future generations but also promote the over all health of a fishery.

I understand that to some this may seem a little wacked out but I am passionate about fishing and want my kids to enjoy the same opportunities that we all have. These are my own beliefs and I don't want anyone to think I would look down on them for practicing what they believe to be right. Peace to all and "Good Luck"! A_A.
 Reply by: Fishful Thinker      Posted: 4/23/2009 10:13:23 AM     Points: 12347
Side note: Outdoorsmen the world over have used fish and wildlife mating rituals to gain an upperhand on our prey for many centuries. Think spring turkey, salmon runs, bugling elk, rutting fallow deer, tarpon runs, etc, etc, etc. CL
 Reply by: Pathway      Posted: 4/23/2009 7:07:16 PM     Points: 542
Very true. That's why we practice stricter conservation during those times so we don't overharvest.
 Reply by: goosebuster      Posted: 4/23/2009 8:11:53 PM     Points: 1840
I have really enjoyed reading all of these posts! this was a good discussion. But i think that some places should not allow the keeping of fish such as chatfield, ill be damed if 1/3 of the fish that spawn make it back from their journey because of all the catch and keep fishermen. im aware of the right to keep but i think that those fish in there are just slaughtered by every lure possible just because of how close it is to denver and the pressure it recieves, half the time i fish it there are dead fish washed up on shore with hooks in their mouths... wouldnt it make more sense not to be able to keep fish durring the spawn and intern that would improve the chatfield fishery....
 Reply by: fishextreme      Posted: 4/23/2009 10:32:34 PM     Points: 96
I have been in this situation before and have made decisions both ways. You can catch a fish and see that it is spawning and dropping eggs and in my decision, I have no problems letting her go complete her spawning cycle. On the other hand, at the same time I have caught rainbow trout that have all of the spawning aspects (heavy black spots and more detailed rainbow color) and have kept them. Whether you keep them while they are full of eggs or keep them and wonder if they have already dropped eggs, these lakes have sooo many fish already in them from previous spawns and DOW stocking them that I don't think it is going to hinder the fish population in these lakes and streams.

I understand what you are saying about morals, but it comes down to the personal aspect of fishing that makes the differnce in whether it is catch and release or a keeper. I normally don't start fishing until late May just to avoid this problem and really haven't had great luck until after the spawning season. I feel if it was a really big problem, then DOW would put restricitons on keeping spawning fish.
 Reply by: waterwolf      Posted: 4/23/2009 11:17:51 PM     Points: 134
This is a mentally stimulating discussion. Many good points have been made. As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another. This should make us all better stewards of our natural resources. It seems ironic to me that DOW permits fishing during spawning periods. And that there aren't more regulations on the taking of larger fish. Evidently in thier minds the impact of catching spawning fish and large fish has no significant impact on the fisheries or it would not be permitted. Our 'gatekeepers' can't be totally oblivious to the truth about this matter. If they are, maybe we need to start lobbying them to change the rules to protect our fisheries during those vulnerable times. We all need to do our part in protecting life its vulnerable times. Our judgement needs to be sharpened reguarily also and we need to practice our principles. Thanks for the thought provoking thread.
 Reply by: channelcat13      Posted: 4/24/2009 9:37:02 AM     Points: 1973
I like the "iron shaprening iron" statement, waterwolf! This is true. After 15 or so years of professional debating/debate coaching and a personal 2nd place in the nation collegiate ranking, I have learned not to "own" any idea for it is subject to change. We use the ideas of others (if they are better) and we should be willing to deconstruct our own ideas regularly to ensure that we are not stuck in some stagnant, groupthink, mindset. This forum has been very informative but as a debate coach, I find it even more impressive that passionate ideas can be exchanged in a polite and respectful manner.

 Reply by: Tbubb      Posted: 4/24/2009 5:20:05 PM     Points: 7492
One more thought to add. Maybe the DOW doesn't outlaw fishing the spawn becuase they make a lot of money off of liscences, etc... and voters vote and all, and the fact is , it's not what people want or pay for, so they are just hoping that a majority act within reason & use good judgement. For me, where I keep trout, they have no stream to spawn up. If I though a spawn were heavily fished, I'd return all teh eggs I could. ANd If I was in a secret honey hole nobody else seems to fish, and caught one of the 1000's in there, I'd probably keep it and eat it if I'd not got something else for dinner.
Just being reasonable...
Not everyone will be.
And the DOW might also have a motive of profit, or simply not be sure how to enforce somethign without too large of a dragnet (keep male fish only? Its not like they have a rack- buck Vs Doe).

But it's been a really interesteing conversation to read. Got me out of my mode of thinking in terms of put& take where I fish- I forget sometimes that there are established breeding trout becuase I don't fish streams...

Yes, I put the fat bass back...
 Reply by: fisherwilly      Posted: 4/25/2009 9:38:15 AM     Points: 116
Last year was my first year catching spawning brown trout. I happen to be in a hole on a river stacked with spawners. I caught (and released) 2 nice browns (my biggest browns ever caught) and then left since I felt bad for disturbing the spawn. I was curious to how big the fish got above this reservoir. Anyways, is catching and releasing the fish on their redds detrimental to the survival of the eggs? Or does it not make a difference? I was happy to see their sizes and catch big fish (I like to look at their colors and size up close). If it is bad for fisheries I got it out of my system anyway.
 Reply by: eddiemunster      Posted: 4/25/2009 9:56:46 AM     Points: 1
Why do so many people wait for Ice off? So you get into some spawning fish. It's the time when they are most aggressive. I know nobody wants to harm the fish, but if you don't want to harm the fish then why target it at a time when it's most vulnerable. I don't understand when someone says they put back a fish because it was spawning, if you were that concerned, should you have been fishing for it in the first place? Just a couple of things to think about while we are all up on the soap box.

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