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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We had an ethical dilemma on Pomme last Saturday. My buddy caught a 28" muskie on his trot line. I worked with that fish for 20 minutes trying to revive him before turning him loose, every time I would let go he would immediately go belly up. His gills looked to be breathing, and sometimes he would jerk and his fins by his gills were moving. But it didn't appear he could survive. I know legally that the fish had to be 36" to keep. I also know it's a huge waste to let that fish go, knowing he would die.

:confused:What would you do?
 

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That is a tough one. My dad and I had that same conversation a couple of weeks ago about walleye. There is a 15" length limit on the walleye where we fish and you catch a ton of them around 14 1/2". The worst part is on occasion you'll have one swallow it deep and they will be bleeding immediately from the gills. Fish is going to die so what do you do? We don't keep em if they're short regardless but I totally understand the dilemma
 

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I hate wildlife rules that don't let a person take advantage of complete accidents like that. I think you went well out of your way to follow the letter of the law seeing if that fish would survive.

To be honest, if I knew it was going to end up as turtle food, I think I would have tossed it in the livewell, taken it straight home, and had it on the grill that evening. The MDC stocks thousands of muskies in Pomme each year. You getting to eat one versus the turtles isn't going to harm the fishery one bit.
 

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Weighing out the options:

1) cost of fines if caught
2) waste of the fish

I have let trout go that were foul hooked knowing they were going to die, but in NYS if you are caught with an ilegal fish it is $72.50 plus court costs and if you are EVER caught doing anything ilegal while fishing again you lose your right to fish in the state FOREVER!!!!
 

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Originally posted by Mark Twain
I hate wildlife rules that don't let a person take advantage of complete accidents like that. I think you went well out of your way to follow the letter of the law seeing if that fish would survive.
How many idiots you think would be keeping short fish, injuring them on purpose if there were this type of exception to the rule... lots would be my guess.
Tough situation for sure, but I am following the letter of the law with regard to wildlife regulations, knowing full well that there may never be a perfect system.
If it makes you feel better, just know that fish that dont survive are always re-absorbed into the ecosystem as a benefit in some way..
 

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I would have let it go. You did all you could. Keeping one fish is not worth loosing your fishing license and getting a fine. Don't know if they could take your license but I bet they could.
 

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Let him go no doubt. I love to hunt and fish and I TRY to do nothing to give anyone a reason to take that away from me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the opinions. I know the rules, I know if you allow variance of rules that someone will take advantage of it. It's just a waste,I have conflicting opinions on how to deal with it.
In hunting we are taught that if you kill it you tag it whether it's big enough or not, now with restrictions it's taken a twist of being illegal.
In fishing, we sometimes kill the targeted species and are expected to turn it loose to die. It seems to depend to me on if it's a 7 inch crappie or a 28" muskie whether it's a good deal or not.
 

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well look at it this way, chances are the fish died but MAYBE not, at least it has a better chance of survival then if you had cleaned it. Its always a tough pill to swallow when game we love to pursue gets hurt and lost, or is injured and to short to legally keep, but like stated eariler, if you let he honest people get away with keeping game in a situation like you encountered, there's a bunch of scumbags that will take advantage and make a situation, when there is none.
You did good by letting it go, as tough as it was. :cheers:

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