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A Time not to Fish?


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About two summers ago I found myself on the banks of a small western Illinois river with less than an hour to fish. I had no idea I was about to have a 17 fish hour. The water was so low and clear that I did not expect to do much. I found a decent looking hole. My first casts with a Salad Spoon, left on my line from some previous LM Bass fishing, yielded strikes but no hookups. A switch to a 4" Yum Dinger was all it took to get the action started. In the 45 minutes I spent, I landed and released 13 SM Bass-the equivalent of 17 per hour. I had to quit due to time limits, and it was just as well. I realized that fish from far up and down the river had been driven into the hole I was at. They were "fish in a barrel."

 

When I got back to NE Illinois, I tried not to make a big thing about my "hour." I wanted to protect those fish. I recalled tha day after I read the following article. Though I am not one to make analogies beteen trout and bass. There are some valid ones. Though water temp may not be the driver there are some times, like the one I just described, where SM Bass are vulnerable. Some trout fishermen are way ahead of us in that.

 

This is an excerpt. For the whole article go to the link below.

 

 

"This is a re-run - it seems some of our readers missed it, or didn't understand it. This is important - READ IT.

 

 

"Summer and Fall can be wonderful times to fish. Or they can be a killer. Literally.

 

"Fly anglers must be aware of the conditions where they plan to fish. Fishing in water too warm or too low is inexcusable. We do not live in a society where we must kill fish to eat, and it is unfortunate the magazines have failed in their responsibility to the fisherman and the resource. Instead of articles on the dangers to the fish in warm or low water conditions, there are articles on how to fish 'spring holes' or tributaries.

 

We were in New York the last week of July, and some waters WERE too warm to fish. Water levels in some places were TOO LOW to fish as well.

 

Some states, Montana to name one, have closed waters because of those conditions. Voluntary restrictions are in place in many others. Yes, those closures are going to cost the guides, fly shops, restaurants and motels money - and that costs the state money from revenues as well. But it is obvious the proper emphasis in Montana is on protecting the trout fishery. Even though anglers in other states have brought pressure on their state departments which regulate fisheries to close under the same conditions, the money rules and fish are the losers, the rivers remain open.

 

There is a group of people who are concerned especially with the Beaverkill and Willowemoc Rivers in New York, and they have formed the 'Beamoc Coalition.' They pass out a card, (shown here) to anglers on those rivers, or leave the card on the windshield of vehicles parked at access points."

 

http://flyanglersonline.com/ldy/

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Guest rich mc

the musky guys do the same. when water hits 80 they go to wisc. chad cain in southern ill goes to minn then returns in sept. anglers at shab dont fish it for muskies as much when the waters hot. i dont think it hurts the smallies as they are very active. they are more vulnerable in low water since they have no where to go. rich

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Did you feel guilty for catching those smallmouth? Given the same situation, would you refrain from fishing for them?

 

No guilt because the clock stopped me like the final bell stops a prize fighter. Being dull witted, I probably wouldn't realize I was in the same situation till I caught 10 from a similar pool in 1/2 hour or less. But I would stop there figuring that there was nothing left to prove. (And, BTW, that I have proven very little with the 10 released.) But, in a similar situation, I have seen a guy go on catching fish after fish to beat his personal record of well over 50 in a day.

 

Seems to me that the job of the angler is to figure out the fish's vulnerabilities and to exploit them. What happens after that is up to the individual, their needs, and how they follow the rules and regs.

 

I would add "knowing when to stop" to the list. Don't we see too many college and high school scores "rolled up?" Though that is all within the rules of the game while the clock is running, what do the winners prove?

 

Bass are tough cookies. Definitely not trout. I don't think the bass were in danger of death from being played. Sounds like the issue was potential for overharvest.

 

Exactly. The potential for overkill was there even if I used the best release techniques. The fish were trapped and starved. There was even greater potential for more kill if I had come home and crowed about my 45 minutes on a public forum like this one. I think just naming the body of water would have drawn out the C&K brigade in such numbers that at least one or two would have found the exact spot.

 

There are many lessons. Knowing when not to fish is just one.

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