Popularity of catch and release grows grows | SierraSun.com
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Popularity of catch and release grows grows

Bruce Ajari

I often get asked why I rarely keep a fish that I catch. The philosophy of catch and release is not really a new practice, but one that was brought to the attention of the public by the late Lee Wulif. He coined the phrase, “a fish is too valuable to be caught only once.”When I get asked by my friends why I practice catch and release fishing, I kiddingly reply, “fish are my friends.” In reality, this may not be far from the truth.I know fishermen who fish our local waters with such regularity that they catch the same fish each season and from one year to the next. It becomes almost like having a pet.Those of you who have pets can identify with the loss of one of the members of your family. That is how protective some of my friends feel about the fish in our local waters.An incident a couple of years ago emphasizes this situation. We had been having some excellent fishing during the Green Drake hatch on the Truckee in the wild trout section. Unfortunately, someone decided to come in and baitfish in this special regulation water. The wild trout section of the Truckee permits only artificial flies or lures.Arriving at one of the spots where we had been having success with some large fish, my angling companion came upon the remains of several very large fish. Along the bank was an empty styrofoam nightcrawler container that had not been there the evening before.This companion of mine was devastated. He considered these fish to be a constant; a part of the river from which they came. The fact that they were taken by someone fishing illegally was hard to fathom.Fishing over this water in subsequent evenings produced no fish of any proportion the rest of the season. The damage would not be undone until another large fish or two moved into this water or the existing fish grew.This points out the fragile nature of the sport that we all love and just why catch and release is a practice that becomes more common among anglers of all type. Whether you fish with bait, lures or flies, you can practice some catch and release.Why? First of all, the story above tells you the impact that taking several large fish from a portion of the river can have over the course of a season. Imagine this happening along an entire stretch of river. Imagine further, if everyone who fished and caught fish tried to keep their limit each time.The result would be a drastic reduction in the number of fish available. Over the course of time we would end up with a depleted resource.Baitfishing really limits the fish that you can release by allowing the hook to be swallowed on many occasions. Those fish which is lip-hooked can be returned safely to the water in most cases. I urge you to try and release any fish that you hook in this fashion.Lure or flyfishing with barbless hooks allows you to release your catch with much less effort and stress to the fish. As a result, this is the preferred method to be used.I also feel it is important to limit your catch so we can sustain a viable fishery in our local waters. Do you really need a limit of fish each time that you go out? Keep only those fish that you can actually use.Those fish that are caught and put in the freezer often end up in the garbage can with freezer burn. Is that a fitting end for such beautiful fish? They would certainly have been better off having been left in their natural environment to maintain our local fishing.Fishing is a very large part of our economy. Local guides really know the value of catch and release. The better the fishing, the better their business, and the local economy in which they are a part.Fishing is very big business in the Truckee-Tahoe region, and each of us should be very aware of what we can do to keep it a viable resource. Limiting your catch by practicing catch and release seems like a very reasonable thing to do.Trust me, while it is difficult to do the first few times, it becomes much easier each time that you do it. A point may even come when you may decide to keep a fish, and at that time, you will know just how much a part of you releasing your catch has become. Looking that fish eyeball to eyeball, you may come to the same conclusion that I did many years ago, “fish are my friends,” and they will do better in their environment than my freezer.Fishing reportWith the warm weather most lake fish have headed for the comfort of deeper water. As a result anglers fishing early or late in the day, or those fishing deeper water have been most successful. Keep this in mind for your fishing outing.Boca – (37,118 ac. ft.) Boca has been fishing fair to good Most anglers fishing from shore near dam are having some success. Most anglers use nightcrawlers or Powerbait it. Boaters are having fair success on Kokanee. Most are using a combination of flashers and a wedding ring or Kokanee Bug with a piece of white corn. Those trolling for trout are using a combination of flashers and a nightcrawler or minnow imitating lure. Flyfishermen near the inlet should have fair to good action using a variety of nymphs, streamer, and emergers.Donner – Fishing has been fair to good Most anglers fishing for rainbows on the west end and near the launch ramp have had some success. A few large fish have also been reported Nightcrawlers and Powerbait seem to be the main bait. Trollers using minnow imitating lures have had fair to good success. Kokanee fishing has also been fair to good Most are trolling Ted’s Bugs, Kokanee Bugs or wedding rings with a piece of white corn behind a flasher.Lake Tahoe – Fishing has been good for mackinaw. Most fish are in the five to seven pound range. A guide is highly recommended if you are fishing for mackinaw for the first time. Toplining and shore fishing is fair. Remember tributaries to Tahoe open July 1 and will close again on September 30.Martis Lake – (Martis L~ restricted to artificial lures with barbless hook. Zero fish may bagged or possessed) Fishing is fair. Most use nymphs such as the Hares Ear, Pheasant Tail, Damselfly imitations or the A.P. Small midge patterns have also been good at times. Streamers that imitate small fish, and woolly buggers are also good choices. For surface activity, patterns such as the Quiqley Cripple, Martis Midge, Parachute Adams, and Griffith’s Knat are good choices.Little Truckee River – Fishing has been fair to good Most anglers are using nightcrawlers, Powerbait or salmon eggs at the inlet of Boca reservoir. Flyfishermen are taking fish on nymphs, emergers and streamers.Prosser – (28,014 ac. ft.) Fishing here has been fair to good. Bank fishermen use nightcrawlers or Powerbait it. Most trollers are pulling a combination of flashers and nightcrawlers or a minnow imitating lure. Flyfishermen near the inlets have taken a few fish mostly on nymphs and streamers.Stampede – (229,231 ac. ft.) Stampede is fair to good Most shore anglers are taking a few fish, still some very nice size ones. Most use the typical baits, nightcrawlers or Powerbait it. Those throwing lures are also having some success. Topliners have fair to good success for kokanee salmon. With the warm weather the fish are being found in deeper water. Most use a flasher of some sort and a kokanee bug or wedding ring with a piece of white corn.Truckee River – The release has been lowered to ~7~u bic feet per second from the dam at Tahoe City. Typically these flows have been adjusted on Tuesdays lately. If it is held here the fishing in the river should be very good with the reduced flows. Bait, lures or flies have been successful in the river between Tahoe City and Truckee. In the wild trout section below Truckee flyfishermen are using nymphs such as the caddis larva, prince, birds nest, hares ear, or pheasant tail with good success. For dries try a humpy, elk hair caddis, or a parachute adams.Other Waters – Frenchman fished shed fair this past week. The latest reports indicate that the fishing has slowed a bit. Davis lake has been planted and fishing has been fair. Jackson Meadows is fishing fair. Milton Reservoir has been fishing fair to good for flyfishermen. Middle Fork of the Feather River & Portola Area – The Middle Fork of the Feather River and many of the smaller streams in the area have been heavily stocked and are fishing fair to good.Sierra Sun E-mail: sun@tahoe.comVisitors Guide | News | Diversions | Marketplace | Weather | CommunityCopyright, tahoe.com. Materials contained within this site maynot be used without permission.About tahoe.com… 


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