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Keeping Walleyes/Fish?

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I'm sure this has been covered in great detail, but I'm curious on people's thoughts on keeping fish. I was recently fishing and caught a number of walleyes between 18-24". A couple of people I was with told me I was crazy for letting the fish go. There weren't any slot limits on the lake, and I kept two that were 20" for a meal. The walleyes I released hadn't swallowed the hook and were in good shape when I released them. I don't have a problem with keeping some fish, but I don't feel it's necessary to keep a limit everytime I actually catch enough to make up a limit. My buddies went on to say that someone else will just catch them and then they'll keep them. I told them that that would have to be that individuals decision, but atleast I was doing my part to conserve a resource. I'm sure there isn't one right answer, but I do get a little upset with people that think it's necessary to keep everything they catch. If the walleyes I had caught would have been hooked in the gills, I would have kept them. If they were gut hooked, I would have just cut my line. If they looked like they wouldn't make it after I cut the line I would have kept them. What do other people think?

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Saremma,

I see nothing wrong in your decision to keep a couple 20 inchers to eat, letting the rest swim free to be caught another day and hopefully adding to the natural reproduction next year!!

Yes it has and will always be a topic of discussion. However, discussing it over and over will have more of a positive result than not discussing it all!!!

I truly believe we have all come from the school of Catch and Keep, but have made the wiser transition into Selective Harvest!

Change will never occur over night. Unless it's weather related!lol

I personally prefer keeping the walleyes under 20 inches. My favorite length to keep for good quality filet's would have to be the 17-18 inchers!!!

I guess that's all I plan on saying at this point!
Nice Fish Saremma, good decision and enjoy them "white-tips"!!!!


Jim W

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A meal is about the right amount in my book - usually short of a limit. Pressure, size the lake, size of the fish, conditions all factor into how much someone should feel comfortable C&R or keeping. All lakes are different.
If everyone on a lake kept a limit everytime, the impact would be noticable. Keeping a couple to eat is not waste, throwing a 100 back and keeping none most likely does more long term harm.
gte

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Saremma, good job! That is very noble of you. Regardless of what anyone says it is your choice whether to keep none/some/all of the fish you catch. Granted with catch and release there will be some mortality, but as anglers we all have an obligation to our fellow anglers, our children and their children to treat our catch gently and to insure it gets back in the water promptly and unharmed. One thing is certain as far as mortality goes, every fish that is kept suffers 100% mortality. If you release a 24" walleye to be caught at a later date. Perhaps that fish will be caught by a child who will have a memory that will last a lifetime. Fishing is my passion, I fish hard, I fish alot, (100 plus days a year) and fortunately for my sanity I am fairly sucessful at it. Yet to this day one of the biggest thrills I get from a day on the water is to release a large fish to fight again! I firmly beleive that a trophy fish is far to valuable to be caught only once!!!

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Another way to look at it, particularily if it is warm, the water is turbid(low oxygen) or the fish are in a stressed state (spawning), Just catch enough to have some fun, and stop fishing. Time and time again I see folks and hear stories about "yeah, we really killed 'em." or we boated 100 walleyes yesterday. Big deal! This is also wasteful, as many of these fish won't survive. Have some fun and then go home, no extra points are givin for catching every fish in the lake. Catch a few, get a meal or two, and enough is enough, Now we have to deal with a night fishing ban, and who knows what in the future because of a few greedy, selfish individuals, who lack a conservation ethic or fail to realize that C&R dozens of starving walleyes on a 90 degree day will have an impact.

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Saremma,

The sooner we can get more fishermen to think conservatively of the resource like you did the better... grin.gif

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No problem with what you did, best fish to keep for eating are between 15"-20" the bigger ones are the spawners. Always bring a camera too, if you get that elusive 10+ lber that is a wall hanger, get a few good pics, and release her(thats right, that big is more than likely a HER) then get a fiberglass replica made.

Fair winds and following seas.

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Saremma,
Way to go, we need more fishermen to think your way. One of my pet peeves is the fisherman who has to take home his limit every time they go fishing, then the fish either sits in the freezer for six months until it is inedible or else they never even clean the fish and just toss it into the dumpster. Wanton waste in my opinion is one of the biggest problems facing this sport today. If you can't use it right away then put it back.

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I wish more people kept fish as noted on these posts. I fish because I enjoy the sport but I also like to eat fish. It does no good to stockpile fish in the freezer, you can only have 1 limit in possession before it becomes illegal. I don't bring any fish home from Island Lake (Northome) if I have a meal in the freezer and then if I bring some home it is to eat right away. It doesn't take too many fish for a good meal for me and the wife. I applaud all out there who just harvest what is going to be used soon. On the same thread, I don't feel there is anything wrong with someone who doesn't fish that often to take a limit home for a couple of meals, as long as they get used before keeping more on another trip.

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In the back of Outdoor News, in the Consevation Officer reports. A freezer was checked, in the Waseca area, where there were 851 crappies, sunfish, and perch. It didn't say how many people lived there , but how can anyone eat all of those fish before they go bad? and more than likely continue to fish.

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Saremma,

You're a stud! I have total respect for the attitude you convey with your behavior. C&R is a beautiful thing!!!
You're right, not everyone will do it. But... if some of us do, we'll make a big difference in the future of fishing. Maybe there'll be enough fish around still when my kids are ready to fish.
Good work!!!
Scoot

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Wow...851...I live in Waseca and I bet that they came from Clear Lake...I know of a lot of people that break the law in my area and unfortunately not all of them get caught...

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