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Catch & Release or???

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There has in several threads bin disaggrements about C%R and those who wants to keep the fish they catch.

As I see it there are several ways to deal with the catch.

100% C&R. You release everything you catch, including injuried fish.

Limited C&R. You are allowed to keep a few fish every year, and the rest you release.

100% Kill. You can take what you catch.

What is the right way?
 

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Peter,

A good poll and I'm curious what the responses will be.

From my perspective as a West Coast steelheader (US AND BC), to answer your question I need to differentiate between hatchery and wild fish. Given the state of our runs, I'm a firm believer in 100 C&R of wild fish. Hatchery fish are another matter and for them, there is a different answer.
 

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Jack Cook
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Interestingly enough

I have always been convinced that the fish belong in the river. Not just when alive though. As important as it is that they live to spawn it is equally important that their bodies remain in the watershed to decompose after death. This is part of the critical biomass required to keep the balance of life moving forward in a watershed. One of the ignored side effects of smaller returns is the reduced biomass in the watershed leading to even smaller returns. As always the problem is more complicated than one single facet. On the other hand this is one facet that an individual can do something about directly.
 

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Skidrow Woolley Fly Club
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Far to complicated an issue to be dealt with by a few simple poll questions.
 

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What Sinktip said.
 

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Skidrow Woolley Fly Club
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Jack does make a good point but we are a part of the entire scheme of things also. A thinking part which may or may not be good. However, how so you define waste? I bonk a fish and eat it. From it I received subsistence and energy to live. I place the guts and bones in my garden to fertilize my zucchini which I eat and received more sustenance and energy to live. Did I waste it?
 

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loco alto!
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Get hatchery steelhead out, kill and eat them. In Oregon, the various species of Pacific salmon - which die after spawning - provide much more food for subsequent salmonid generations than steelhead provide. Steelhead runs are comparatively small, and many steelhead depart after spawning anyway.

I view it as my responsibility to wild steelhead to remove hatchery steelhead from my rivers whenever possible. They demonstrably impact the fitness of wild populations. Hatchery fish get bled unless I am just too lazy to deal with it. I feel guilty when I let hatchery fish swim free, for I know there is a good chance that fish will breed with a wild steelhead, and reduce the fitness of the subseqeunt generation. Bad news.

This applies to rivers that I fish, where hatchery supplementation is not needed to have viable fish runs. Fish them out, and don't turn in the punch card at the end of the season - I don't want ODFW to plant even more hatchery fish the next year to satisfy what they perceive as my "need" for a consumptive fishery.
 

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Kerry,

I would not say you wasted it but how many people actually place the guts and bones in their garden to fertilize their zucchini? I usually try and put the guts back into the river but that will probably offend some too. I do take exception with people who have told me that "well it was wild but it was bleeding so I decided to keep it so it wouldn't be wasted". In my mind, put it back in the water (actually never take it out to begin with) and if it makes it, super. If it doesn't, it will not be wasted.

I have no problem with someone who keeps hatchery fish. I have been known to do that as well. While I realize that Steve is right and all hatchery fish should be bonked to protect wild fish, I have also been known to let them swim away. A better answer for me would to not have hatchery fish in river systems with viable wild runs. If that means there is no fishery on that river, then so be it.

My apologies to Peter if this has turned into a steelhead centered thread. I think your motivation for starting it was more atlantic salmon focused.
 

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Let em go lad's

100% all the way regardless of family tree and all that other stuff. The only thing that may sway me is on a severely bleeding fish. I still think i would return to the water in the outside chance it would survive. I state this as i have never killed an Atlantic Salmon and thankfully have not been put in the position to have to decide it's fate(ie injury).
Salmon Chaser
 

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hatchery steelhead should be kept wild fish should be released... sspey nailed it
 

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PEISpeyGuy said:
100% all the way regardless of family tree and all that other stuff. The only thing that may sway me is on a severely bleeding fish. I still think i would return to the water in the outside chance it would survive. I state this as i have never killed an Atlantic Salmon and thankfully have not been put in the position to have to decide it's fate(ie injury).
Salmon Chaser
My kind of guy!
 

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in the case of steelhead I disagree..

i believe it is ALWAYS unethical to kill a wild steelhead even where it is legal....
 

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here in the GL, hatchery fish were once all we had. now we have a good (15-30%) wild fish that are, of course, from hatchery origin. if we killed all of the hatchery fish would we have these wild fish? two tribs now have their own distinct strain of wild fish as the DEC tells us that 20+ years of natural reproduction deserves that status. these fish are noticeably different in aperance and are clearly now different subspecies. what do the west coast guys think about this? what about rivers out west that have no wild fish left? should all the hatchery fish in them still be killed? very interesting topic.
 

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I was just thinking along these lines when I read this last night. I'm sure I'll get flamed for saying this but having just spent 8 months in the PNW I was struck by the mentality that the rivers are becoming nothing more than rearing pens for the hatcheries. We on this board are a clear minority. It seems to me that the methodology for maintaining runs is to pump out factory smolts for the long liners and netsmen at sea, take what you can from the river to keep the hatchery going, and foster a "sport" fishery if possible. If we're knocking every hatchery fish on the head with the goal of removing them from the river then just move the commercial fishery inland and we could all fish with dip nets and dynamite on most rivers most of the year.

That said C&R in Gaspe is becoming a responsibility for every angler. The Bonnie for instance has been one of the last holdouts for C&R and the fishery has suffered greatly. The York goes kill most years only to close weeks after. There just aren't that many fish per river so I think C&R should be considered by every angler regardless of law.

-Chris
 

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Here in the PNW, the reality is that to have the majority of fisheries we now have, you need hatchery fish. For river systems that do not have a wild run, I have no problem with that. For hose that do though, there is hard substantial evidence that hatchery supplementation negatively impacts wild fish. So the question is are we concerned enough about the state of wild fish to forego supplementation and thus our fisheries on these rivers?

In a perfect world this would follow an economic model of supply and demand. Where anglers desired fish, there would be supplementation and where they didn't there would be none. Unfortunately the hatchery culture with the managers is such that I fear they would continue to flood rivers with hatchery smolts even if there was no anglers desire for them.

Black Francis - What you have reported in your "new" wild fish is why their is a distinction between wild and native. Wild fish are naturally born in river gravel without any human interaction. Native denotes offspring from a historically naturally occurring species or subspecies to a river. (These are my paraphrased definitions.) You have wild fish but they are not native.
 

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Jack Cook
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Interestingly enough

River in the PNW where there are no longer viable wild fish still contain remnants of the original glory. In those river hatchery fish are an interesting variable. If all the hatchery fish are harvested and killed then as soon as they are caught once there is limited fishing on the water until the next season. If those fish are released they remain in the system to be caught multiple times. When hatchery fish die they leave their bodies in the system which is good for the remaining wild fish. Many rivers in Maine were handled this way. The rivers were though to be extinct of wild Atlantic Salmon so they were filled with hatchery fish. Since the hatchery fish were all there was they were protected on these rivers to keep the fishing going all season. Besides the fishing being consistent throughout the season what they found was that the wild Atlantics made a comeback and eventually the hatchery program was stopped.

Killing all hatchery fish seems to make sense at first glance. Perhaps it requires a more comprehensive look.

In my case it is not about killing or not killing a fish. It is about the viability of the run and what is best for the Salmon/Steelhead. I would rather catch them than eat them.
 

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loco alto!
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sinktip said:
Here in the PNW, the reality is that to have the majority of fisheries we now have, you need hatchery fish.
tip, can't say that I agree with you on that, and it is a very dangerous attitude to promulgate.

Many (if not most) of the rivers in Oregon don't need hatchery fish at all. We have many rivers with good runs of wild fish. And there is good evidence that hatcheries are actively suppressing numbers of wild fish, often in a 1:1 replacement due to limited spawning habitat. Remove the brats, and the wild fish rebound.

While there are some fantastic riverscapes in the Puget Sound and interior Columbia basin, it is not legit to generalize from those trashed fisheries to the entire PNW. I would only hope that anglers in my neck of the woods don't buy into the attitude that we "need" hatchery fish on the majority of our rivers in Oregon, because frankly, we don't.
 
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