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Catfish Contests (Live Transport)

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I noticed a recent thread about the Franklin Derby and thought I throw this out to see how everyone feels about this type of contest (live transport) with onsite weigh in. This is for Flatheads.

Feel free to add comments about your vote.

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I am all for these tourneys if done correct. I think it does bring attention to the fish (flats) and helps promote catch and release of them (to a point).

What I am not in favor of is the contests where you drag the stringer and fish to a parking lot at a gas station or some place, lay the fish on the pavement waiting for the weigh in. Then leave them their or take them home and do what they do with them. Again, it's your right as an MN angler to do what you like with your catch, but I think these kind of contest's will put a black eye on any sport fish.

I check the "I am all for them but with modifications" box, because I always think there is room for improvement when handling fish.

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I like contests and tourneys, but I'm against live transport of a fish of this size. You can transport panfish and maybe bass/walleye as long as much care is taken, but I'm not convinced you can transport (and release healthily) a live fish over 10lbs.

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You are going to have people that will just throw them in the back of the truck but for the most part they are put in water and brought in. They could possibly die even if you have them in a aerated tank. Just never know. I treat them well. I have a tank I put them in for transport.

One thing about the Franklin tourn. The DNR a few years back had a tagging experiment on the MN near Franklin. They tagged them thru Electro fishing and trot lines and then recorded the weight length etc. Also where the fish was tagged. There have been many fish that were tagged brought in to the tourn and released again. It is kinda like the Duck/goose bands. They can tell u where they came from etc. Just fyi in case u didn't know. I know it has been over for a few years now(tagging) but I am sure they are still taking info on them.

Ryan

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I used to be totally against any contests until cpr with weight and measurements came along, and I still havent done any of them either.

The reason I dont like live transport is you are relocating the fish from the homes where they have found a safe home and have found food. Now these contests, they catch them from all over then release them all in one spot most likely far away from where they were caught. Another thing is weigh ins are usually set for the next day, so if you catch a 40 lb'er you have to drag it along with you fishing the rest of the night, into the next day. The only way I would agree to them is after being caught they need to be brought in right away after being caught and weighed, take note where they were caught and brought them back as quick as possible.

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Something to think about I guess. It makes sense. But do you think that they can't find food or shelter in any part of the river? I would think that they would do well where ever.

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I'm just not a fan of any contest that might kill the specie. The contests are for man to prove how good of a fisherman he may be at the expense of our resource. If there was no money to be made off the expence of the fish, then there would not be any contests.

Doesn't seem right to me unless its CPR.

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I guess I could have voted ok with modifications, say requiring a certain size tub to transport them with aeration to specifics. I suppose if someone could guarantee me a 0% mortality rate, I'd be fine with it. In fact, I would like to see that weigh-in!

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Something to think about I guess. It makes sense. But do you think that they can't find food or shelter in any part of the river? I would think that they would do well where ever.

I agree one or 2 more large fish in one area will adapt. How about 20, or 30 fish over 25lb's added to one spot, will they all find enough food, and a comfort zone out of the current?

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Couldn't they have official weigh-in boats along the river that you someone either radio to or go to them? Maybe a dumb idea, given I am not real familiar with how big a stretch of the river is fished. But maybe limit the area of the river that could be fished too to so the official weigh-in boats could be accessed quickly and then the fished quickly released.

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One more thing, I thought it was ilegal to transport a live fish? So legally you have to kill the fish before you even transport it, correct?

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You can probably transport them by boat alive.

A weigh in boat for me takes the fun out of a weigh-in.

I wouldn't worry about putting a bunch of big fish back in one spot. These big fish migrate ridiculous distances and in winter they pile up on each other, only to use the same migration routes.

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Couldn't they have official weigh-in boats along the river that you someone either radio to or go to them? Maybe a dumb idea, given I am not real familiar with how big a stretch of the river is fished. But maybe limit the area of the river that could be fished too to so the official weigh-in boats could be accessed quickly and then the fished quickly released.

This would be a good idea, but when you get 500 people in the contest, you need to have a large portion of the river to fish!

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Any time you have an offsite weigh-in the next day of the contest, the cheaters will take advantage of it, especially if there is any amount of money on the line.

Kids pool in the backyard with a flathead in it for a couple days. Flathead left in the river tied to a tree with a rope before the contest starts. Flathead in a decoy bag hiding in a snag. I'm willing to guess all these scenarios have been played out over the years. There is too much rumor and heresey floating around about past contest fish entered with these practices. True or not? It makes me sick to think about it and the fish entered are not better off as a result. Total abuse of the resource. This is what happens with off-site weigh-ins.

If all participants launched at the same launch and returned to the same launch for a weigh-in, cheating (or even the attempt to cheat) would be reduced significantly. Have boat inspections before they launch, marshall boats on the river, and the weigh-in at the boat launch where fish could be returned immediately to the river.

Or better yet, have judge boats that weigh your fish at the site of capture. Every contest boat has a 2-weigh radio in which they can contact the judge boat and relay there position so an official weight can be obtained. Photos would be taken and the fish would be promptly returned to the water. Many of the big muskie tournaments are handled this way.

Most folks are not prepared to transport these fish alive and healthy. Most boats don't have muskie sized (60") livewells and most contest participants aren't going to go to the extent of having a small stock tank with an aeration system to transport a live flathead from point A to point B. Requiring participants to be properly equipped to transport these fish is not going to happen.

Whats wrong with a couple of these scenarios? They require a lot of up front effort by the organizer and many volunteers to run properly. If the guys running these contests now had to put that kind of effort forth to run a contest legitimately, they wouldn't do it.

I know some of these contests are big traditions but its time to call the kettle black and step up to the modern age of fishing competition.

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I think there are pros and cons of contests. I also think there is a better way than dragging the fish all over the region to weigh it in. I don't know all the details of every contests, so I cannot have an opinion how each individual one is handled.

BTW, part of the permit process that the contest applies for temporarily suspends the rule against live transport of fish.

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I don't believe one can transport any fish alive from any lake or river but I might be wron.

You are correct Tom except for a permitted tournament that has an offsite weigh-in. I believe to allow/not allow an offsite weigh-in is at the discretion of the permitting DNR office.

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RAB    0

One thing is for sure, all that extra fishing pressure and handling of the fish isn't doing any good for the fishery. IMO flatheads aren't a species that deal very well with excessive harvest. What I mean is that it takes a long time to replace a big fish that is removed from a system. Even if it everybody has the best intentions and respect for the fish, which they won't, some of the fish probably don't make it. You just have to wonder how much damage a large group of people could do to a system in one day, is it worth it? I don't have any data or anything, just my opinion.

Frankly, I think the best catfishing tournaments are ones with little or no prize money. They'll draw out only the serious catfishermen and that is who you want to have bragging right with anyway. smile

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I've never been able to support tournaments that don't involve C.P.R. I've got too much respect for our resources to throw pounds of fish on a scale for bragging rights with a small window of opportunity for survival. I love my competition, but not when it means potentially killing a 20+ yr. old fish.

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These tournaments do nothing for the sport. Anyone who has fished them on the mn river knows this. I fish the river 7 days a week if I have the chance. The boats I see out during the tourney, and several days leading up to it are boats I have never seen before, or boats I only see during big buck, kill everything you can for a chance at a dollar contest.

Come down and see what happens at the BP contest,and if you think that is promoting the sport sick

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The whole idea of dragging a huge flat or channel around in tanks,trucks,pools,or whatever is just wrong. For what to hopefully get it weighted and measured before it dies. I think I can speak for most of us on here that getting that huge flat or channels and then getting a few pics and measurement and releasing it is all we ever what. Live to fight another day. We have to very well run contest on here KOTC and Moores. They are both fun and none of the fish we get are ever kept. I think us as catfishermen need to kept the pressure on some of these Cat Contest. In reality we are the only ones who care!!!!! CPR ALL the WAY

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What needs to be done is for everyone who is upset about these contests to contact the area fisheries office that hands out these licenses and tell them what you think of these contests and the fish they kill.

I have talked with several people in the new Ulm regional office and I do believe that if they recieve enough calls and e-mails, something will happen.

If we sit and let the DNR believe that this is all ok, nothing will change.

Give them a call.

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