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Maine Fly Fish
Kevin McKay

When should we stop fishing?

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Ummm... when you need to leave... even if you’ve caught your limit, you can still catch and release. It just sucks if you limit out, and end up with another fish that is hooked badly and your pretty sure it won’t make it. It’s rare, but I keep fish from time to time. Even rarer that I keep a limit (even if it’s just two fish). If I’m keeping more than one fish, it’s usually panfish, so there’s no limit on them, plus they don’t want us to release invasive species like crappie. Here is one of the two times I kept all that I caught. This was out of Sebago, after a very slow day of trolling. When we found these we were on our way off the water, they bit on every cast. I stopped myself shortly after this pic just because I didn’t want to haul any more than one bucket full.6216239D-C54F-496E-8C05-1FA580FB9AB9.thumb.jpeg.436ddf2deba8bfba369b4db19fa5f60f.jpeg

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8 hours ago, Seamonkey84 said:

Ummm... when you need to leave... even if you’ve caught your limit, you can still catch and release. 

Just as a head's up - that's not true everywhere.

NH, for example, says you can't keep fishing after taking your limit, even if you're releasing the fish.

Check the laws where you're fishing.

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1 hour ago, plecain said:

Just as a head's up - that's not true everywhere.

NH, for example, says you can't keep fishing after taking your limit, even if you're releasing the fish.

Check the laws where you're fishing.

Good to know. I do check regs for every body of water I go, and recheck as season change to make sure I’m fishing legally. In my adult life, ive yet to fish outside of Maine, but I’ve only picked up fishing 5 years ago. 

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Plecain, excellent point.

The answer is depends. Are you catching smelt while ice fishing and going to have a big old fish fry?  Whatever is within the legal limits is the answer if you so choose.

At this point in my fishing life it’s barbless hooks and catch and release. So for me, I catch what I can for as long as I want to stay and fish. Rarely do I have to worry about catching fish numbers in double digits. 

 

 

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5 hours ago, plecain said:

Just as a head's up - that's not true everywhere.

NH, for example, says you can't keep fishing after taking your limit, even if you're releasing the fish.

Check the laws where you're fishing.

Tough question, Kevin.  In my opinion, it varies depending upon the known health of the fishery.  I wouldn't fish long for cold-water species in the heart of the summer in skinny water knowing they're already under pressure though I'll fish all evening for bass, pickerel and perch in a pond of sufficient depth. 

Plecain - excellent point.  To clarify, I'm assuming you cannot continue to fish only if you've harvested your limit?  Is that the correct understanding?   I would assume you could catch and release any number of fish if you do not keep any.

I can understand the logic behind the NH law - as Seamonkey84 referenced, an experienced angler can generally catch and release with minimal harm, however, there are times when a fish is aggressive with the take and a significant injury occurs.   In Maine, we do roll the dice that any fish caught after limit has been kept is able to be safely released as any fish killed, accidentally or intentionally, would cause a limit to be exceeded.

 

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1 hour ago, caught_the_fever said:

Plecain - excellent point.  To clarify, I'm assuming you cannot continue to fish only if you've harvested your limit?  Is that the correct understanding?   I would assume you could catch and release any number of fish if you do not keep any.

I can understand the logic behind the NH law - as Seamonkey84 referenced, an experienced angler can generally catch and release with minimal harm, however, there are times when a fish is aggressive with the take and a significant injury occurs.   In Maine, we do roll the dice that any fish caught after limit has been kept is able to be safely released as any fish killed, accidentally or intentionally, would cause a limit to be exceeded.

Yes, your assumption is correct - you can't fish after filling your limit. If all you do is C&R, you can fish all day (not night; also not allowed in NH).

What they're really trying to prevent is 'culling' as they call it. if you've caught your limit but continue to fish they're afraid you'll keep a better, bigger, later fish and toss one of your original limit, now dead, into the woods.

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I stop fishing when my allotted time for fishing is over.  I like most people don't get to fish as often as I want so when I get off the leash I fish until the clock expires. If water is warm I still fish but maybe in different areas and keeping in my mind to be extra careful with them.  If the fishing is going well I won't over fish an area, I'll move on and explore after I've caught a handful.  Only a handful of times have I ever gotten bored of catching fish and wanted to stop and move on to something else and that has never been with cold water species mostly white perch or mackerel.

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On 10/4/2018 at 7:49 AM, plecain said:

Just as a head's up - that's not true everywhere

My personal opinion, through experience,  is that it should depend on one's skill in releasing without injury to fish AND MOST OF ALL, one's ambition

in flyfishing in general.  If you find yourself finding the greatest thrill being the number of trout caught, one has to realize that not all the fish you reoease live...

The two greatest reasons for relatively smaller trout, in my experience...is that 1) too many of the once larger breeders were caught and not released, leaving much smaller trout to become the majority of the breeding population(big breeders = big fish DNA in their offspring, small breeders = small fish DNA in their offspring)....and 2) the food supply, in general,  isn't what it should be for the given fish population.

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22 hours ago, plecain said:

Yes, your assumption is correct - you can't fish after filling your limit. If all you do is C&R, you can fish all day (not night; also not allowed in NH).

What they're really trying to prevent is 'culling' as they call it. if you've caught your limit but continue to fish they're afraid you'll keep a better, bigger, later fish and toss one of your original limit, now dead, into the woods.

Thanks for the confirmation.  I understand and appreciate the rationale behind the law. 

As Seamonkey mentioned in his own post, always good to double check the rules and regs for changes or as a refresher.  Saved me from making an honest mistake a time or two.

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When I'm fly fishing or ALO fishing I almost never keep a fish, so I will fish until I run out of time, which by the way seems in shorter supply the older I get.  If I'm fishing with bait its usually very early in the spring or through the ice and I'm done when I've got my limit for a species. I may relocate and target something different but if I'm fishing for trout or salmon I don't keep going once I have a limit.  I think most guys don't realize that hooking mortality is pretty significant, even when the fish swims away.  It generally fries my a** when I see guys pull thirty trout out of the water or through the ice, squeeze them, rip the hooks out and send 28 bleeders back down the hole or toss them into the lake. 

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It depends on many factors. How big are the fish being caught? Studies have shown that bigger fish are more likely to die after being released. How heavy is the fishing pressure? In a place like the Rangeley area, or the WB, fish could be caught multiple times in one day. That's a lot of stress on a fish, even if handled with care and not brought out of the water. Is it a wild or native fishery? If fish need to reproduce to sustain the fishery, too much handling can negatively impact the spawn-particularly close to spawning time. Stocked fish don't really belong in the ecosystem anyway, so mortality isn't really an issue with those.

We also need to ask ourselves, "Just how many fish do I need to catch?". Fish and their ecosystems have value in and of themselves, not just as commodities for our entertainment or food. The more fish we catch, the more fish die, no matter how carefully we handle them. I'm not inherently against keeping fish for food (I do it myself sometimes) or catching 50 fish in a day (I also do it in certain circumstances), but catching a lot of fish can blind us to the value of the resource if we're not mindful of it, and we can wind up negatively impacting fisheries if we're not careful.

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Quebec rules:  It is prohibited to continuing fishing for a species once the daily catch limit applicable to the species and the water body has been caught and kept, unless fishing occurs on another water body or the catch limit for the species is higher. In the case of Atlantic salmon, it is also prohibited to continue fishing during the day, on the same water body, once the catch-and-release limit applicable to the species and the water body has been reached. However, fishing may be continued on another water body.

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