Catch and Release Practices for Ice Fishing
Why practice Catch and Release? The fish population, and the size of the fish caught, have been on a steady decline for a number of years. This is due to the advancement of ice fishing technologies. Gadgets and advancements to other ice fishing equipment are making it much easier to catch fish in everyday ice fishing spots. However, we are seeing more and more anglers returning the majority of their catch to the water. While no one can deny the fact that a nice hot fish dinner after an ice fishing trip is very rewarding, most fishers are enjoying fishing for the sport, not for the food.
Another common practice used in combination with catch and release is called ‘selective harvest.’ This is the practice of minimizing the waste of fish, and providing a diverse opportunity for fishing while preserving fish conservation. The easiest way to do this is to practice catch and release. Only keep what you will definitely use. While catching and keeping the fish as a prize can bring you great joy, so can the release of the fish. This ensures that there will be fish for you to catch in the future. Releasing smaller fish also helps ensure there will be large fish in the water for spawning. Using the catch and release techniques means the fish will be in peak physical condition, and size, when you decide to keep a catch for food in the future.
All fishermen should keep the conservation of fish at the tops of their minds. Whether you fish for food, pure recreation, or for sport, when the fish are gone, there’s no more fishing. And with an increasing number of anglers reaching both highly accessible and more remote areas, conservation is becoming increasingly important.
There are also some more exact reasons to practice catch and release. Many water bodies now require you to catch and release. Also, as mentioned, physical conditions of the fish caught play a role. There is no reason to keep small fish, as these fish will grow, and ultimately produce more fish. There are also regulations in place for catch limits, zero catch limits and season restrictions which demand the use of catch and release.
Catch and release, and selective harvesting of fish guarantees the continued growth of fish populations and your continued enjoyment of fishing.