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BigMac

Keep vs release

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Just curious what people's habits are with regards to Lake Ontario walleye. Not trying to start a flame war or anything like that as we are all legally aloud to keep fish with the proper license.

Personally I keep probably 5-10 fish per year. One, because they are generally too large and not as tasty as little guys

Two, I believe in conservation, especially with larger fish.

I was out Saturday and we caught 5 walleye between 4-11lbs and all went back.

I know in Canada we are only legally allowed to possess one limit in our freezer, is this the same in New York?

It actually hurts me seeing 10lb + walleye being kept to eat. I have kids and want them to enjoy trophies also.

(Don't kill me for this post pls, just curious)

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I agree that if it is legal than it is ok. this is a question to be answered by the individual. Put and take fisheries, it doesn't matter but it can be a good ethical argument for natural reproduction areas. I personally think that the efforts of the DEC in April has been better for the success of the fishery.

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The walleye fishery isn't put and take on Canadian side, are there a lot of walleye stocks happening in ny? We rely heavily on natural reproduction up here.

Edited by BigMac

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Fishing techniques have improved over the decades.  For there to be a next generation, you have to take the current generation into account.  I think you have answered your own question.  I was invited to goto Canada a few years back and after reading up on the regs decided to save my money and fish locally.  My impression is that Canada had pimped out its natural resource and realized they needed to step back and let it replenish itself.  Yes, The states stock fish to supplement or maintain balance in populations.

 

I agree with what you said about keeping the little guys.  I like 2ft walleye. 

 

Like I said before, everyone has to answer that question for themselves, but I think it is good that you asked it because it may get others to think about it also.  The rivers I fish are not stocked either so I am conscious about it.  I treat every hole in the river like it is a separate body of water and don't over fish it.  Put and take lakes - it doesn't matter much. 

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Well it depends how often and how far I travel. If I fished the golden cresent every weekend no way would I keep every eye, keep them in the water for future generations. I will keep some the big eyes for bacon wrap, but not all. If I travel a few hours once or twice a year I will keep most fish. We catch and gently reaslese all othe species of fish we catch. It seems like the younger generations of fisherman are a little more likely to do so. I talk to some older walleye guys, all hush hush and keep all and even poach by taking more than their daily limit. I just don't understand that.

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Just because something is legal, does not mean it is beneficial for the fishery. 

 

Some bodies of water can support large scale harvesting of fish like walleye.  Erie seems to be one of those places.  Maybe Ontario is the same, I'm not sure.

 

But most lakes and rivers in NY with natural populations of walleye are quite susceptible to over-harvest.  

 

I am very happy to see that the "keep what you catch" mentality is slowly but surely being replaced by a more responsible "C&R with selective harvest" attitude.  Slot limits and lower creel limits are important, but it's the mindset of anglers that will ultimately preserve the fisheries for future generations.  

 

As previous generations learned the hard way, you can't keep filling your freezers and expect the fishing to get better at the same time.

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I found this article about walleye management on Mille Lacs in Minnesota.  

 

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/fish/walleye/management.html

 

It's a common story.  Loose regulations combined with increased fishing pressure resulted in declining fish population and size .... anglers get angry and complain .... the gov't imposes very strict regulations on the lake (causing more anglers to complain) ... and then over years and years, it gets better.

 

This same thing has happened many times across the US and Canada.  Imagine what would happen if the governments were more proactive and imposed more conservative regulations BEFORE the fishing declines.  Instead of fisheries going from bad to good, we could have them going from good to great.

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The problem is walleye dont make a very good sportfish but are very tasty. It adds up to the fact that most walleye anglers aren't out there to release fish. I'm not saying its right just the way it is. I fish a put, grow, take fishery so I take what I know Ill eat. Tough topic...

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Certainly a touchy topic. When I fish for trophies in the late fall in Quinte we release all the big female fish but keep smaller eaters. I generally release the real big ones in Lake Ontario and on the river. However, I sometimes take friends and relatives that seldom get to fish and if they want to keep the fish to eat or mount I let them. I also feel the lake and river walleye fishery is in pretty good shape. There seems to be a healthy population from the lake to Massena. I'm pretty careful with what I take when fishing smaller bodies of water.

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Lots of good opinions. I like the discussion. I wonder whether the Brb fish are the same population as quinte in the fall and how the slr plays into it. Could be 3 separate population bases. Salmon migrate all over western lake o so could walleye do the same?

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We only get a couple when we get out. We practice fillet and release in the deep fryer.

Sent from my XT907 using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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I have buddys who can't afford to buy meat or fish for their families on a regular basis.  Any my family loves fish as well.  Whatever we don't eat, I donate to my less fortunate friends.  I love being able to stock up their freezers for the winter.  I figure if they can take bullets for me in Iraq and Astan, the least I can do is keep their bellys full of fish and venison.  So to answer your question….I keep just about every legal walleye and salmon I catch.  Now lake trout…..they go back in the water.

Edited by jigstick

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I agree with Kevin in that I just dont get guests that want to release any legal walleye. It's certainly easy enough to throw some back for those of us who fish eyes hard all season, but for the average angler who doesnt catch a freezer full it isnt likely he or she is going to release any. All I can say is its a good thing they are challenging to catch for the most part because if they weren't the species would be in trouble!!

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We only get a couple when we get out. We practice fillet and release in the deep fryer.

I agree!

"Catch n release into the grease"

Fish is great for you and tastes great too, I can remember my grandfather showing me how to fillet bass, bullhead, and sunnys. That was back in the early 70's so it's all about balance and carrying capacity, just like deer. Don't be greedy and take what you will eat, within the legal guidelines, simple.

Sent from my C771 using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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I thought about it some more and I would say that it would take between 3-4 hrs for me to get my boat wet in LO.  Figuring time and money investment, I would most likely keep a limit (if I caught one) regardless of their size.  But I have released fish in my own back yard that were legal.  I guess it depends on whether you are an ambassador to that body of water or if you are only going to visit it once versus continually.  I still say that it is up to the individual.  Walleye is both challenging and rewarding.  Like Justin said,

 

 All I can say is its a good thing they are challenging to catch for the most part because if they weren't the species would be in trouble!!

 

I know a lot of guys who want to be spoonfed because they don't have the patience for it.  This is why the 90/10 rule applies.  90% of the fish are caught by 10% of the fisherman.  Since walleye are hard to catch they aren't usually targeted by fair weather fisherman.

 

I mentioned this before.  Allowing the spawning fish to do there thing without being snagged or netted is probably going to do the most benefit for the future generations. 

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I don't think I agree that walleye are hard to catch.  It's FINDING them that is the challenge.

 

On bodies of water with huge walleye populations (like the Canadian Shield), finding and catching a bunch of fish is easy as can be.

 

If you are on a body of water that requires a lot of hunting to find the walleye, there's a good chance it's a relatively small population for that body of water.

 

If walleye seem elusive on your body of water, that's a good sign to catch and release.

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Just a example of conservation, for 20 years I went to Canada where we caught walleyes buy the boat load. The same crew wants to go back for their last trip to Canada most of our crew is 70 plus of age. We called the outfitter to reserve our dates and now there is a slot limit and a lake limit which doesn't coincide with Quebec's legal limit, the outfitters limit is less. I remember very well a native Indian saying "you guys take'em out buy the boat load but you never bring 1 back" so now 40 years later the fish must be 18" but no bigger than 24" with 1 fish over 30" for a trophy. I can honestly say I'm saw the writing on the wall that is why there are strict reg on this lake now. Don't say that will never happen.

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One other thing to note is that even though we depend on DEC to set regulations to protect populations, by the time a population is noted as declining the new set regulations may be a knee jerk reaction and to late. I wouldn't mind seeing a one fish (over 26"or so) rule enacted, similar to what they use in Quinte.

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Pap, That is happening everywhere and with many species.  That is why "sustainable" has become such a big word associated with conservation. 

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I don't think I agree that walleye are hard to catch. It's FINDING them that is the challenge.

On bodies of water with huge walleye populations (like the Canadian Shield), finding and catching a bunch of fish is easy as can be.

If you are on a body of water that requires a lot of hunting to find the walleye, there's a good chance it's a relatively small population for that body of water.

If walleye seem elusive on your body of water, that's a good sign to catch and release.

Try catching one where there is unlimited bait!!! They are elusive anywhere where they are well fed and bursting at the seams with fat!

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Erie... Easy to catch when it ain't blowing like a mother or frozen. We feed the family and friends, nieghbors and whom ever else stops by. Take the back strap off the ten pounders fillet them in half and tell everybody they are 20 inchers. The big ones only taste different because of how they are cleaned and prepared.

We do release a few but fillet 300 plus a year and eat everyone. I understand catch and release on a lot of lakes and slot limits are a good thing. Habitat management and stocking on lakes are much more important then a handful of anglers taking a limit. Some lakes that are getting stocked now where just never meant to have walleyes in them. Take the eyes before the DEC figured they are not reproducing and they are just feeding the Muskies and Bass with the fingerlings.

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I thought about it some more and I would say that it would take between 3-4 hrs for me to get my boat wet in LO. Figuring time and money investment, I would most likely keep a limit (if I caught one) regardless of their size. But I have released fish in my own back yard that were legal. I guess it depends on whether you are an ambassador to that body of water or if you are only going to visit it once versus continually. I still say that it is up to the individual. Walleye is both challenging and rewarding. Like Justin said,

I know a lot of guys who want to be spoonfed because they don't have the patience for it. This is why the 90/10 rule applies. 90% of the fish are caught by 10% of the fisherman. Since walleye are hard to catch they aren't usually targeted by fair weather fisherman.

I mentioned this before. Allowing the spawning fish to do there thing without being snagged or netted is probably going to do the most benefit for the future generations.

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