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BLACKJACK

When is a limit a limit??

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I know, confusing Subject line but if you're having good luck and you want to continue fishing by doing catch and release, when is a limit a limit?? smile

For example, you and your buddy are crappie fishing, you have 20 crappies, can you legally keep fishing and catching crappies, if every additional crappie you catch is immediately released? Or do you need to keep your count at 19 in order to be legal?

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I always understood that you could keep fishing but I could be wrong- don't recall seeing any specific lines about that in the regs.

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From previous debates on here,I don't think there is an answer. If I remember correctly, no one has ever proven they recieved a ticket from a CO but I remember people saying some CO's have told them it was illegal.

But, like your heading, a limit is a limt... 20 in the livewell is your limit, fish on the line don't count. But what's wanton waste? If you kill a legal sized fish, should you keep it? putting it another way, say you don't have a limit of fish and you kill a legal size fish...are you obligated to keep it per the law?

I think what I'm getting at is it's more of an ethical issue with yourself.

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Its been debated many times in the past with no real consensus.

No where in the regs does it say you must stop fishing when you reach your maximum allowed limit. It just says you are not allowed to sort fish once they have been reduced to possession. So once a fish is in your live well then you are not allowed to throw it back in order to keep a larger fish.

I rarely keep enough fish to reach my limit but on the odd occasion when I do I've always kept fishing but immediately released all additional fish. My reasoning is that a fish is not reduced to possession until it reaches your live well or stringer. The fish I happen to be unhooking has not yet been reduced to possession so shouldn't count toward my limit until it reaches the live well. If I release it right away then I feel I should be legal.

Maybe I am wrong but I have not been able to find anything in the reg book that can prove otherwise.

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If you want to get real technical. If you are fishing crappie with 2 peaople in your boat, and you have 19 in the well, only the person that have caught 9 can keep the last one . The other that has 10 is done and can only catch and release. There is no party fishing from what I remember. Catch and release is not illegal and does not contitute a possesion limit as long as the fish is released immediately.

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You are correct Jbell- tahnsk for pointing out:

What if people are fishing together from a boat or on shore?

A party is two or more people fishing together from a single watercraft or on shore while

maintaining unaided visual and vocal contact.

The number of fish your party possesses cannot be more than the combined limits of all

party members. However, you can only transport your individual limit of fish.

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I rarely keep enough fish to reach my limit but on the odd occasion when I do I've always kept fishing but immediately released all additional fish. My reasoning is that a fish is not reduced to possession until it reaches your live well or stringer. The fish I happen to be unhooking has not yet been reduced to possession so shouldn't count toward my limit until it reaches the live well. If I release it right away then I feel I should be legal.

This is all correct as far as I know. If I am by myself and have 10 crappies reduced to possession, I can keep fishing. I can't cull and I must release any fish caught that would put me over my limit. On the off chance a CO were to question why I am still fishing when I have a limit, I can say I am fishing bluegills or perch. There's nothing he can cite me for that I am aware of...but that's just my theory (more on that in a bit).

What people get ramped up about is the possibility of hooking mortality. If I have 10 fish in a livewell and catch another crappie, but it's hooked deep and will die, legally I still have to put that fish back in the water and cannot cull it for a living fish in my livewell. Herein lies the ethical problem people have. I say all that, but still say this: this is my interpretation of the law. If a CO is being honest, he'll say he has his own interpretation of those same laws, but his colleague two towns over may have yet a different interpretation of certain laws. Why? Because there are far more laws in existence than they can humanly process, and they change every year! smile On a few occasions if I wanted more clarity, I've gone straight to the fisheries department in St. Paul and I have gotten two very different responses from people in the same dept! I don't blame them, I pity them. It's hard to do your job when you have legislators with absolutely no idea what they are doing as the ones making laws that COs must then enforce. It's a chaotic system on the best of days.

And it's not just the little regs book you get in the spring... Some of what you read are the actual statutes, verbatim. But most of what they print are just the "highlights" of all the various statutes that actually exist. Want to waste a few hours and learn how many things you've probably done wrong without knowing it? Read these... STATUTES

The bottom line is that it's really up to the CO if he wants to ticket you (he can find something to write down, I assure you). Then it's up to the judge if he wants to punish you (or it's up to your lawyer to fight it if you want to go that route). Just saying "that's not printed in the regs book" may or may not be enough to keep you out of trouble in the land of 10,000 lakes and 12,000 laws.

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I spend a lot of time fishing lake trout in the winter. The limit on lake trout is (2)

I have witnessed an individual getting ticketed for having 2 lakers on the ice and continuing to fish.

The CO made it very clear that if you have 1on the ice you may continue to fish. The moment you reduce the 2nd fish to possession you are done.

Since that day I have always said if you are keeping fish and want to continue to spend the day on the water either keep 1shy of your "limit" or change targeted species. With a very obvious change in methods as to not have incidental catch of the first species.

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I spend a lot of time fishing lake trout in the winter. The limit on lake trout is (2)

I have witnessed an individual getting ticketed for having 2 lakers on the ice and continuing to fish.

The CO made it very clear that if you have 1on the ice you may continue to fish. The moment you reduce the 2nd fish to possession you are done.

Since that day I have always said if you are keeping fish and want to continue to spend the day on the water either keep 1shy of your "limit" or change targeted species. With a very obvious change in methods as to not have incidental catch of the first species.

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The CO made it very clear that if you have 1on the ice you may continue to fish. The moment you reduce the 2nd fish to possession you are done.

It would be interesting to take that one to court and see how it plays out.

That would mean that if you have a limit of crappie you'd have to stop fishing blue gill and perch as well. The presentations are virtually identical so there would be no way you'd be able to avoid accidentally catching another crappie.

Like others have said each CO can have their own interpretation of the law but the interpretation that this CO has is not supported by the regulations book we are given.

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The CO made it very clear that if you have 1on the ice you may continue to fish. The moment you reduce the 2nd fish to possession you are done.

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Immediately released or returned to the water – Fish must not be retained

longer than is needed at the site of capture to unhook, identify, measure, and photograph.

Placing the fish in any type of container or on a stringer is not immediately released. Any fish not immediately released is considered to be “reduced to possession.”

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Kyhl, you're spot on. The clear, precise definition of possession (any fish not immediately released) was a recent addition to the regs (maybe 5 years ago), yet folks still continue to debate this topic.

No need to stop "one shy" of your limit if you want to practice CPR, since a fish immediately released has not been reduced to possession. If it's not in possession, it can't be part of your possession limit.

Not sure where the perceived ambiguity is, other than as I said maybe because it's a somewhat recent addition/clarification in the regulation book. I imagine there are plenty of folks who don't re-read the regs every year.

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I agree. The definition of "possession" per the regs is pretty clear that a fish on your line is not in your possession.

Thanks guys!!! That clears things up!!

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The clear, precise definition of possession (any fish not immediately released) was a recent addition to the regs (maybe 5 years ago), yet folks still continue to debate this topic.

I didn't realize that it had changed so recently.

I don't get worked up about the regulation since I don't keep fish but it bothers me to hear that an official might be imposing his will where the rules state otherwise.

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The clear, precise definition of possession (any fish not immediately released) was a recent addition to the regs (maybe 5 years ago), yet folks still continue to debate this topic.

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Taken directly from the 2015 regulations... You can "cull" fish if they are in your possession, UNLESS you already have a full limit in your possession. If you stop one short, you can sort and upgrade according to this section, unless you are on the prohibited waters listed.

General Regulations: Possession

How many fish can I keep?

Your daily and possession limits are the same unless otherwise noted.

A fish is in your possession once you have caught and kept it. Your possession limit includes any fish you have kept that day plus any fish in storage from a previous day.

Once you reach your daily or possession limit of fish, you can't release fish already caught and kept and replace them with other fish.

While fishing on Mille Lacs Lake or Wisconsin, South Dakota or North Dakota border waters, you may not release fish already caught and kept and replace them with other fish even before you reach your daily or possession limit.

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It was always my understanding that once you get your limit, you have to quit.

I do anyways, legal or not, as someone mentioned possible hooking mortality

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It was always my understanding that once you get your limit, you have to quit.

from the looks of this thread, it appears that isn't the case

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I spend a lot of time fishing lake trout in the winter. The limit on lake trout is (2)

I have witnessed an individual getting ticketed for having 2 lakers on the ice and continuing to fish.

The CO made it very clear that if you have 1on the ice you may continue to fish. The moment you reduce the 2nd fish to possession you are done.

Since that day I have always said if you are keeping fish and want to continue to spend the day on the water either keep 1shy of your "limit" or change targeted species. With a very obvious change in methods as to not have incidental catch of the first species.

I agree and the law says if you have your limit in possession,you can't continue to fish for that species. Stay one short of your limit or maybe it is time to try for something else. You got your limit,what happens if you catch another fish of the same species and it dies?

If you could keep fishing some people would be stringer sorting all day long with a lot of dead fish thrown back in the water.

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I agree and the law says if you have your limit in possession,you can't continue to fish for that species.

Can you point me to where this law is written? I'd like to see a link or page number from either the regulation book or the actual Minnesota statutes if you have truly seen this law in writing. Thanks

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I agree and the law says if you have your limit in possession,you can't continue to fish for that species. Stay one short of your limit or maybe it is time to try for something else. You got your limit,what happens if you catch another fish of the same species and it dies?

If you could keep fishing some people would be stringer sorting all day long with a lot of dead fish thrown back in the water.

This seems to contradict everything that is written in the regs. I'd be interested in seeing where you have read this as well.

I'm not sure that fishing after your limit will cause issues with stringer sorting. If you were to stay shy of the limit by 1 fish like you advocate the regs actually say that sorting is legal in that case. Once you reach your limit sorting becomes illegal. So in my mind you'll have more issues with sorting by advocating people to remain one shy of the limit instead of hitting your limit and switching to catch and release.

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