Large Mouth Bass Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters...

Selective Harvest

by Ontario Federation of Anglers & Hunters (c) 2001

Catch and release fishing has become increasingly popular in recent years.  This practice has obvious conservation benefits.  However, there is nothing that can top off a great day’s fishing like a meal of fresh fish on shore or at home.

So how can you get the conservation benefits of catch and release along with the enjoyment of a shore lunch?  Selective catch and release.  The concept is simple, keep the small fish for your meal, and release the large prime spawning fish.

This may be contrary to what you were taught as a kid. You always heard Athrow back the little ones but that isn’t always best.   Every year relatively large numbers of fish are produced. As fish get older, a percentage dies naturally.  Therefore, there are naturally a lot more small fish than there are large fish.  The relatively few large fish that are left represent the ability to reproduce each year.  For example, one large female walleye can produce tens of thousands of eggs.  Therefore, it makes good sense to release most of these mature fish.

Replica mounts, like those from the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunter’s Ontario Record Fish Registry, are now available which allow you to release a large fish and still have a keepsake for your home or cottage.  All you need are the fish measurements and a photo, then let the taxidermist do the rest after the fish has returned safely to the water. Just remember not to hold the fish out of the water for too long as it rapidly increases the mortality rate.

Limit your catch, don't catch your limit.


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