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Maine Fly Fish
Kevin McKay

Should we kill more fish?

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Based on the laws to keep fish?

Should we keep 2 each time at a particular pond because that is the limit based on the biology or release them all?

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In places oh yes, every bass in the rapid comes to mind, I don't think you can keep to many sunfish, perch, or pickerel, on our trout streams, better bass waters I'm good with sensible management. Put and take fisheries are meant to be just that.

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Invasive species aside, Most places the bios are saying people aren’t keeping enough fish, and it’s hurting the average size of the fishery. Just look at the liberal/no limits set on salmon in some lakes, and the situation with the lake trout in Sebago. though the slot helps for more bigger lakers, it’s not helping the salmon to release all those breeders. Plus, people just aren’t keeping the smaller fish anyway.  Though catch and release for the most part is great, it has gone the other way where people are only catch and release and hurting the fishery by creating a stunted population. But its species dependent on which size range are the “right” ones to keep, it’s usually the average size ones of the population.

I’ve read many articles where selective harvest is more important to a naturally reproducing fishery. In Maine, no one cares about panfish, but out west, there are outfitters that guide people out for perch!  There are usually limits on their perch, crappie, and sunfish. There are lakes that been “fished out” and have to wait for population to rebound, or people took all the big bull bluegills and are left a bunch of runts to do all the breeding. 

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All that said. Before all the laws for fishing you see pics of whole poles full of 4 lb brookies.  I assume because many of the places where the pics were taken had little or no fishing pressure, kind of like a pond that had never seen a line.  So...... If we catch and release it would seem the fishery would have a large number of healthy big trout.   I think things have gotten out of whack after working to clean up the water and they had recovered from logging etc and the laws as they are  the fishing does not appear to be like the photos of the old day and perhaps it could never be regardless

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I would have to go with what the biologists say.  Keep more fish where they say to keep more fish.

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If you feel like a meal and it's legal I say keep a couple but I wouldn't do it every day or even every week.  If you take everything you can there will be nothing left for you to enjoy later.

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I would assume that limits are set with the understanding that many people will fish catch and release. I don't think limits are a suggested harvest. If everyone who fished always kept their limit I have to believe it would be very detrimental to most fisheries. Many of the places where they are trying to get people to kill more fish are instances where fisheries are not native to the waters in question, which is why there are so many fish there. Just because a species is native to Maine doesn't mean it's native to a particular water/watershed. When we put fish somewhere they don't belong, bad things usually happen...

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