Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Clarki, Jan 4, 2013.
If your not going to eat it, don't take it out of the water,simple!
You can take a great picture with the fish still in the water. Some like to pose a little longer than most but the only thing that I am for sure of is I would be a floater in Mr. Hicks study. I'm in the 10% group, I'm sure only 10% of my body would be out of the water at the end of his test
Yeah I have to agree with Shawn K on this one. I am a fisherman, I mostly fly fish but I almost hate to say that out loud anymore. Fly fisherman have really given them selves a very bad image, especially steelhead fly fisherman. such as being unfriendly on the rivers more often than not and pushing ridiculous laws that are self serving for a small portion of the angling community down the throats of everyone else that would like to keep a trout now and then or hold a salmon or steelhead out of the water for a few seconds to get a photo.
As far as the steelhead out of the water issue goes, they are a little tougher than they are given credit for. They are not going to melt or disolve if taken out of the water. Think of all the obsticales they have to overcome to make it back to the river then spawn. Hell half the fish I have caught this year have big old gashes in them from seals and gill nets but guess what they were alive and extremely healthy when I had the pleasure of catching them.
Maybe if some of you guys were not so snobby and quick to push laws to restrict other anglers trying to enjoy the same sport, fly fisherman would not be viewed by the rest of the community as a bunch of self serving douche bags. It would be a lot easier to come together and have one voice for the recreational fisherman of washington and be able to actually do whats best for the fish rather than fight over how we are going to restrict each other.
Now this is a guy I'd go fishing with.
saying that fly fishermen give themselves a bad rep says to me that you care too much about what others think of you. but I would side with the fishes safety, rather than the guy fishing for photos
Take all the pictures you want with the fish out of the water. If you keep them to yourself and don't post them on the internet no one can ever criticize you for them. They also can't massage your ego so if you take pictures for your own memories or scrapbook or whatever you should be fine, but if its so people on a forum can stroke your boner then you might be bummed by the negative feedback.
If you care so much about steelhead and salmon don't fish for them. Leave them alone to do there thing. That well never happen. People only care about what serves there needs at that moment.
If you're gonna fish, then fish, if you want to eat the fish you catch, then bonk it, great, but if you intend on releasing the fish, especially the wild ones which you encounter, then do so in a manner which is the least harmful to the creature that you just had the honor of dueling with. I will never stop fishing, that is because I love to do it, its my hobby and I like to pay homage to the fish I encounter. I occasionally take pictures of them, sometimes out of the water when legal, but I do let the fish recover and breathe a little before snapping my shot, then I send it home.
Is that so unreasonable to ask? you should do it because its right, not just because its law. I don't know why anyone would advocate for doing anything less.
All I am saying are that steelhead are a tough creature and can survive a little careful handling. And yes if you intend on releasing your catch steelhead or any other species take care to do it in the least impactful manor. That being said the fact that there is a law telling me how to handle my fish is retarded. Maybe just educate the fishing public better on how to handle fish prior to release instead of making laws hoping to catch someone breaking them so you can write tickets.
And I don't care what anyone says recreational anglers are not the problem facing our steelhead runs. Until commercial fishing (tribal and non-tribal) along with logging entire watersheds ends the runs will never have a chance. I would be the first one to quit fishing a river if commercial fishing and logging in the area had been discontinued and the runs continued to decline but bottom line is that sport fishing is not the limiting factor on our steelhead runs. Period.
Yes steelhead are a strong resilient creature. Yes they go out to the ocean and face all kinds of hardships. But hooking a fish and playing it for several minutes while it fights for its life with every ounce of its life IS hard on it. It does exhaust the fish. This is why they calm down and get to a point where we can safely land them. This is what I was eluding to in my prior post. Sorry if anyone could not make the connection. Then after exhausting a fish you take 60 seconds to effectively cut off its breathing by removing it from the water. This will and I do mean will tax some fish to the point were they will die. Is this number 10%, 20%, more, we probably will never really know. But I personally do not want to kill something that I do not plan on eating. Just my personal belief. I am sure that the spirit of the law is to mitigate any damage that we as sport anglers are doing to an already dying species.
Yes I'm sure that most of us if we did lift a fish would do so for a second or two. Good for us. Yes I am sure that there are many that would not. They would life the fish up for an extended period of time. Kick it onto the rocks. Drag it through the sand. Grab it by the gills. These are all things I have personally seen in the past year by fly and gear anglers, even with the law in place. The law just gives game wardens some teeth when they actually do see abhorrent behavior.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!