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BigGrassBass

Selective Harvest?

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I took my 7 year old out yesterday afternoon to a pond by our house. We were slamming the sunfish when I decided to keep some for a meal or two. But, with the way they were biting we could have done some damage to this little pond, so I laid out some ground rules.

1. We would not keep any females that were still full of eggs.

2. Anything bigger than my hand had to go back.

3. We would only keep one person's limit of fish, 40 would be way to many for us.

We ended up taking 20 home that were all males and about the size of my hand when laid out.

In my mind this is exactly what "selective harvest" is. We didn't really do anything to hurt the population as they were all smaller males and the females and larger fish were let go so they could spawn and continue the life cycle.

I'm hoping to get some reactions from some of you to know weather I was doing the right thing when it comes to "selective harvest" as well as teach my son the same values.

Thanks,

BGB

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I think you followed the philosophy to a T. The biggest thing in my opinion is to not take more fish home with you than you need.

And I will admit, when they are biting it can get tempting to do.

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BGB,

I like the way you think. Two years ago I happened upon a sunnie spot that had us taking candy from a baby. We got smart, took ten each, and left the thing alone. A month ago we went back, and did it again. Selective Harvest makes a difference, and it's each of our responsibility. Nice job !!

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The other day a friend and myself went fishing and probably caught well over two hundred crappies, we left the lake with each of our limits, along with a five nice bluegills and four walleyes. They tasted fantastic! I put four of the bigger crappie fillets in a bag for the girlfriend's father for father's day, and I put the walleyes in a bag for her mother. Neither one of them fish but enjoy eating some from time to time. I feel perfectly and ethically fine. I want to play devil's advocate alittle, I really am not trying to ruffle any feathers so I hope I dont offend anyone here. Just something I've been pondering. Does it really matter at which time of the year you harvest a female? I realize it seems to matter more during the spring when they are "full" of eggs but not to long after the spawn they start developing eggs for next year already. Definitely during the winter this is true. They are being removed from the fishery regardless of when they were harvested, right? I would like to add that I'm not saying we can damage a fishery. With the way they were biting that day if I had called all my buddies and told them to come out, and we continued to take limits everyday, gifting our catches until the fishing slowed we really could have done some damage there. Two of us, one day, no problem in my book. Again, not trying stir any pots just a question.

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Looking at some DNR numbers it seems just about all fisheries end up with more male fish than female fish (likely due to females being larger and harvested more often). It doesn't matter when, it's just easy to tell that it's a female when it's full of eggs.

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