Lifting wild fish

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Clarki, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. Having read a number of these studies I gotta say the data is not really that great. Many of the situations created in the studies are not at all what occurs on a actual river. For instance in the above study the fish were near maximally exercised for 10 minutes. How many of you have actually taken 10 minutes to land a fish? And what fish swim full speed against your line for 10 minutes also? And who keeps a fish out of the water for 60 seconds that is using barbless hooks? It's a real stretch applying this data to actual fisheries.

    That being said, proper handling fish is just common sense I think. Grabbing by the gills, or dragging them on the rocks is pretty ridiculous if you are going to release it.
  2. Seriously? who really gives a shit? not you i guess, but i do, and apparently there is a vast majority here that do. its about education, and some peoples attitudes will never be changed. but lots of newbies reading this thread, that didnt have a clue in the past, gladly soak up any new info.. and even if the law is never enforced, the fact that it exists, and some people know about it, changes angler behaviour in a way that can only benefit the fish. i didnt see any holier than thou type of posts on this thread, only those looking to increase their awareness, and those hoping to educate others with their experience and knowledge. is there EVER a reason that a fish NEEDS to be completely removed from the water, or lifted for more than a couple seconds, even for a great photo?
    Eyejuggler likes this.
  3. It will shock nobody to hear that this isn't a black and white issue. The way I see it, there is a huge range of gray between the real "black" and "white" of the "how much harm do we do to fish" argument.

    One extreme is killing 100% of everything that is caught. The other extreme is never going fishing.

    As soon as you wet a line you are stepping into that gray area, agreeing to do some form of harm to a fish. Sticking them in the mouth with a hook, fighting them, jumping them, landing, releasing - even if done with a barbless hook, even if fought for a minimum amount of time, even if never lifted out of the water, etc - they all harm and stress the fish. Yes, some of the shades of gray are a little darker than others - barbed treble hooks will do more damage than barbless singles, dropping a fish four feet onto the ground and letting it thrash around will do more damage than a clean water release, etc etc, but everything we do once we wet that line has already crossed the black and white line between doing no harm and doing harm. Once we wet a line we are all - barbless or no, out of water photos or no - agreeing to do some harm to the fish.

    To cross that black and white line and then try to draw new lines and make moral/ethical judgments about the behavior of others in the same gray area is incredibly irritating to me. We are all agreeing to do some harm to the fish, and in the broader scheme of things, I am sure that, as fly fishermen, everyone on this board sits way closer to the "do no harm" end of the spectrum than to the other.

    Is a water release slightly less harmful to the fish? Yes. Is a barbless hook? Sure. Is fighting them for 25% fewer seconds? Yep. Do any of these factors make a difference in terms of the fish living or dying after release? At the margin, in certain cases here and there, probably. At the aggregate, statistical level, though, it's a rounding error compared to mortality rates from other sources and types of angling.

    To have fellow anglers criticizing me for lifting a fish from the water for a quick pic strikes me as awfully hypocritical, for reasons detailed above. Should we also go around bashing other anglers who, lacking skill and experience, fight fish for longer than they have to, adding stress and increasing the risk of mortality? Should that be outlawed? Post rangers with stopwatches to time people fighting fish against state or holier-than-thou angler-sanctioned standards for how long fish of a particular size and species should be played for? Is somebody going to jump down my throat because I like to sometimes head out undergunned, throwing a 6wt when others throw 8wts, leading to longer fighting times?

    At the end of the day, we're all out there trying to piss off some fish. If you want to hop on your high horse and feel better about yourself because you take your photos with the fish in the water and that makes you a better, truer, or purer angler, be my guest. Just know that I think you're dumb, and hypocritical.
  4. Education? The great guise of 'education'. That may be a stretch. Some arguably weak data design was possibly over applied in what seems to be a reactionary manner. If lifting a fish briefly and safely that is near the end of it's life cycle, of which by landing it in the first place deprived said fish of several precious calories it will not recoup which it has stored for a spawn we now have effectively shortened, allows a person to take a picture that can be shared with others to spread the beauty of fishing, the fish, and hopefully engage people who would otherwise not be involved in enjoying, preserving, and improving our fisheries I am all for it. If instead we are using the illegality as a point to discourage others from fishing with the hopes of returning fishing to some 'River Runs Through It' fictional point in fishing history, I think we are doing a disservice to fishing. Because someone will do the study that shows just catching steelhead shortens the time they spawn succesfully, and the lack of support for fishing by the general lay public alienated by the passage of laws which while rooted in science, are far from factual in a real world setting, will result in the loss of fishing for spawning anadramous fish all together.
  5. I think the problem arises when folks drag the fish up on the bank get their dirt covered hero shot then release the fish. Or like kick the fish back in the water... I've seen all sorts of BS like that. Netting the fish then carefully lifting it out of the water for a second pretty much has no effect on C&R survivablitily, but how on earth would you write a law like that...

    You can still get good pics while keeping fish in the water, that's for sure!
    Eyejuggler, Pat Lat and underachiever like this.
  6. If we are talking about steelhead, which we should be, the issue in my mind is about respect. The law is dumb. We are the only state/country to have it. Is it necessary? Does it save lives? No. Anadromous fishes are amazingly tough. Holding a strong, physically fit, ocean tough animal out of water isn't gonna factor into the equation (unless it starts getting extreme of course).

    Comparing it to holding an angler under water after sprinting a mile isn't a fair comparison because the average angler I see on the river couldn't sprint to the corner store without puking up their breakfast burrito. Steelhead are at the height of their fitness when they enter the river. They have been training for this day their entire lives, their spawning journey is the Super Bowl of their existence.

    This is where, in regards to steelhead and other wonderful wild anadromous critters of the PNW rivers, respect enters the equation for me personally. Photography is awesome! Steelhead take my breath away. The gods created something truly amazing when they waived their wand (or trident?) and *poofed* the first steelhead into our waters. I love looking at them, and I love taking their picture. However, as a steelheader, I think you should always be mindful of their journey and try to minimize your impact. Hold that fish and think about how far its come, how everything in its life has tried to stop it. Think about what a miracle it is, that in all the chaos of chance that one wild fish found your fly/lure/bait/bead, ate it and brought you that connection you traveled so far for. Respect that steelhead. It's life is literally in your hands. By all means take pictures but remember what you're holding.

    Steelheaders are on a journey just like the fish they chase. Not everyone is on the same page you have to put in your miles to understand. I'm a guppy out there that's for sure. But the more steelhead I see and the more miles I put on my boots the more I respect them and handling them and appreciating them doesn't always mean a good picture is taken and sometimes mean I lose them before it gets there... My favorite shots, the ones I drool over, are a simple head shot. The chrome blush of the fish with my fly in its lip. Hero pose is wack to me. But I remember when I loved em!
  7. Sounds like a lot of PETA members here
  8. i dont think anyone here, myself included, thinks 2 or 3 seconds out of the water for a quick picture is the problem. done carefully, keeping the fish low over the warter, you arent taking much of an unneccessary risk when you feel the need for a photo. and, yes some of those photos, done right, contribute to the greater good, and increase the risk only fractionally. but why take any UNNECCESSARY risks? if this still makes no sense to you, let me put it another way.....
    every time i drive my car thru your neighborhood, i take a chance. no matter how slow i drive, or how carefully, theres a chance your kid will dart out from between parked cars. so, since there is that chance anyway, why shouldnt i just go ahead and drive faster, i mean there is still just a slightly higher chance anyway, right? but why take that chance when theres no good reason to? i'm not going to speed up, but i'm not going to stop driving altogether, and you arent going to lock your kids inside the house, right? are you going to lobby the city to ban cars, yours included, from every residential neighborhood in town? that would be the equivilent of not allowing fishing at all, right? and, if i really belonged to peta, i wouldnt drive my car at all. my opinion, is laws, like sparkys, are usually aimed at the lowest common denominator. 55 mph, is not aimed at the most careful, alert drivers either. is this starting to make sense yet? i cant speak for anyone else, but my point is, do you NEED to hold a fish up over the bank, or the boat for even half a minute for a photo? so,why take unneccessary chances ?
    Pat Lat likes this.
  9. That made little sense to me. Holding a fish out of the water for a few seconds does not equal speeding through a residential area putting kids at risk. yes I get the analogy but I don't think it is a good one. If everyone is so concerened about fish being held out of the water for a pic maybe they should concentrate their efforts on things a little more deleterious such as commercial fishing and habitat degradation.
  10. :oops:
    Forgot what forum I was in.
  11. What kind of effort does it take to have the law?? I steelhead fish 12 months out of the year in every corner of the state and have never seen enforcement hiding in the bushes waiting to write tickets.
  12. I agree Sean it does take little effort to have the law. But I think that is the states problem they put little effort into a lot of things and a lot of effort into poorly researched efforts that are a waste of money and time. I think if they put a little more effort into certain things it would help the fisheries. Say for instance if handling fish prior to release is a problem why not educate the angling community on the proper technique on landing, reviving and releasing a fish instead of just taking our money and making dumb laws or shutting
    fisheries down which require no money or effort. Especially when there decisions are made on little or poor scientific data.

  13. The ultra pressured steelhead streams in AK do not allow you to remove fish from the water, also most places in Alaska don't allow you to remove a king from the water unless you are keeping it. Again, lifting the fish isn't the problem, its the dragging it up on the rocks then kicking it back in the river that is, or letting it flop around in the bottom of a drift boat or something.
  14. I've read studies that show catch and release survival rates of coho are damn near 0%. Recently also came a crossed a study that covers removing fish from water in stressed conditions. I'll see if I can find it at work Monday and throw it up. That law is good though. I live in California now and you can remove wild fish from the water. Keeps idiots like this guy from killing fish. Ran into this photo on Instagram the other day and almost popped a gasket.

    Attached Files:

  15. I used to live/work on the anchor river and would see this everyday day.
  16. And if any of you use Instagram find this idiot and tell him what you think. I already started a war with him.
  17. Yup the only place I've been where there was a lot of "god damnit another fucking steelhead!!" As a treble hook is ripped out of the poor fish.
  18. I like to release my steelhead like this! Swam away so it must be alright.
  19. do you really think the angling community would be all kumbaya if the handling rule wasn't in effect?

    i think that is pie in the sky dreaming. where do we draw the lines when it comes to which restrictions are "good" and which ones are "bad"? are selective fishing, catch and release areas a "good" restriction?

    as i've said before, the angling community is fragmented for very good reasons. there are serious differences between segments of the angling community (not just gear related) when it comes to bait, catch and release, escapement goals, hatchery fish, and numerous other issues. these issues will not go away and i don't think those who feel strongly about them should be quiet for the sake of "unity".

    as for the handling rule, this thread makes me want to dislike it :) but i think it serves a purpose. we can argue about what the increase in survival for fish held out of the water is, but the majority of people will admit it is an increase. in some rivers, catch record data is starting to show how many fish of the total run size are being caught and released. it can be a high number (over 75%) and i think we should be aware of our impact and while i trust many posting here to do a quick lift, picture, and release i cannot say that about all anglers, or even a majority. watch any fishing show and you will see fish being held out of the water for too long over and over and over and over........ the internet only adds to the number of people taking photos with the instant ability to show off catches, and there will be plenty of people taking far too long to take pictures. it happens in places outside washington so there is no reason to think it wouldn't happen here. people can still get great shots of fish under the current rule.

    the only downside of the rule is that internet threads devolve over pictures posted, especially in fisheries where the handling law is not in effect.

    is it really that burdensome that you cannot lift a fish fully out of the water for a picture? are there more important rule changes than this one? of course, but the same could be said for almost any regulation while habitat is destroyed and gillnets fish. this rule is a simple way to decrease mortality in pressured fisheries and has little to no impact on anglers.
  20. Every year there are several of these threads on this board where somebody finds pictures on Cl or somewhere on the Web where some dipshit local Forks guide that has no clientele posts some fish pictures where he or his clients is holding a fish out of the water. Several people that couldn't find tits in a titty bar come on here and lecture everybody how it is illegal to hold the fish out of the water and how dare they do it. But nothing ever changes.

    If you guys spent a fraction of the time writing comments on proposed regulations , attending fish and wildlife commission meetings etc. you would get more accomplished than preaching to the choir on a fly fishing board.

    There is presently 10 weeks out of the year where it is legal to kill a wild steelhead on several rivers on the OP what are you doing to stop that?

    For the record I don't even get out of the water to land the fish I catch and I never touch them.
    daveypetey likes this.

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