| Why Catch and Release Fishing is So Important |
Just let them go! Catch and release fishing makes you feel good, too. For me personally, the exhilaration comes with three things: fighting the fish, landing the fish, and watching the fish swim away. That has replaced keeping and harvesting the fish for me. Here is a picture of a big walleye I caught and released in the spring of 2016.
People go fishing for so many different reasons. It might be to spend time with family or friends, maybe it’s just to have fun fighting against the fish, but for a lot of people it’s to keep and harvest their catch. I have fallen in love with practicing catch and release.
Harvesting what you catch is perfectly legal and I am not trying to say it shouldn’t be done. Fisheries need fish to be harvested in order to prevent overpopulation. The problem arises when anglers take their daily limit of fish. Every day. From the same fishery.
Every angler has the right to keep what is within their limits set by the state. Catch and release fishing does have its advantages, however. These are just a few of them:
The Fish Will Grow
It’s a simple fact that if you let a fish return to its natural habitat and continue to live, it will grow. You could get lucky and end up catching that fish again! Check out this story about a fish that was caught once, released, then caught again a year later!
You can tell by the unique markings on the Redfish that it is in fact the same fish! If you are like me and like to fish the same bodies of water because they are familiar, and you have them pretty much figured out, this very thing could happen to you. It all starts with catch and release.
Let Someone Else Catch It
It goes without saying that if a fish is taken and harvested, it can’t be caught again. Over time, a heavily pressured body of water can see a decline in its fish population. Practicing catch and release keeps more fish in the water. It also gives kids and other new anglers a chance to enjoy and experience the sport so many of us anglers love.
For Health Reasons
As a fish gets older, it has more time to absorb toxins and chemicals like mercury that are in some bodies of water. State fisheries’ agencies don’t recommend eating large quantities of these larger fish. These bigger fish tend to be the most productive when it comes to spawning. Practicing catch and release on them will ensure their ability to produce numerous fish in the coming years.
When looking for a meal of freshly caught fish, try to keep fish that are at the lower end of the legal size limit. Panfish and other small bass will have very little toxins, if any. Also, they tend to be the best eating fish!
Next time you go out and catch some fish, put them back in the water. Watch them swim away. Smile. You just saved a fish, allowed it to continue reproducing, and someone else can catch it again.
Be sure to come back and let me know about your experiences with catch and release!