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Glad to see so much response to this issue. Please understand that the NHSA's recommendations are not made lightly. I can't speak for all in the room, but I don't believe that anyone of us wants any change at all. This comes from the harsh reality that salmon #'s and weight are significantly down. The hook wounding has dramatically risen to 30% which means that almost one out of every fish caught already has this injury, and if they don't before we boat em, they will if we release them. So F&G has a much more complicated problem before them. Logically, if you think about it, reducing the # of lines will definetly reduce the catch. We want to try and help them make a decision that is more angler friendly. The issue of closing the lake early would represent a huge problem. Imagaine if you booked your vacation 2 years ago, and the week you are scheduled the lake just closed to fishing....
As to treble versus single hooks, I have it from a F&G biologist that there is NO evidence that this will reduce the hookwounding at all. Developing and practicing the best catch and release skills possible is the only way to minimize this problem. A rubber net is also a must as the problem this represents can not be collected, fish kill due to being in the air 2 long, and losing their protective "slime" for lack of the actual term. We must also be careful to try and protect this.
If you want to have a voice attending the F&G rules proposal meeting is most important. Everyone who can attend, should. We make sure to post the date, time and place here on the Website when it is determined.
Well, the #'s piece is the most confusing. My best understanding 2nd hand is that F&G had to do multiple nettings to get the #'s they looked at, so this comes from their fall netting studies. Don't know if you went to The Gathering, but Bill Finn presented a wonderful set of graphs regarding size, # and hookwounding, but the # issue seems decieving, but not in light of the reported multiple netting anecdotal info.
My best understanding of the info is that all of what we are discussing has impact on the problem. I hate to get off the water at any time, any day. So I try and fish as long as I can and practice catch and release. I think I am among the majority. I keep only those I know will die. But if we are all out there, fishing better (I would never call myself a good angler, but I know that I am better then I have ever been). So I boat more, catch and release more, and so on, and so on. Another way we can all help is practice volutary restraint. Try and reduce hours/days fished. So that we can continue to fish and have fish there for the catching. This is a very difficult issue, and totally voluntary. I work all week long, so when I do finally get a chance to fish, I want to make the most of it. I know that I am just like most other's who post here, most of us can only fish a few times a month/season. My hope is that if I fish a little less now, I can continue to fish for the rest of my life, not just today. Still, trying to make me behave is next to impossible......
Russ...the other Johnson
Thanks for the reply. I wish I had been at the gathering but family comes first.
The netting numbers that you speak of are I believe a good indicator of the salmon population in our lakes. Did those reduction in total numbers account for the undersized salmon put into the lakes the last two years. I have seen the data from the last several years and they do tell a story. One thing I know fishing many hours at Squam is that the one and two year old fish are practically non existent both in the fall netting and the fishing creel. I don't mind catching large older fish but there are two age classed missing from that lake and I presume the other lakes as well.
My point is if you go just by the numbers and don't look beyond the surface for all the underlying contributing factors it never becomes corrected and perhaps some restrictions are placed on the fishery that aren't based on all the information and aren't needed.
In the long long ago past the salmon population in all our lakes have increased and decreased based on a number of factors such as available bio-mass, fishing pressure, fish kept, carefull release, health and size of the stocked fish and so on....This has happened before and the fishermen go away....then as the population gets healthier and word gets out the fisherman come back. It is somewhat self correcting with a little help from our biologists at Fish and Game...thank goodness.
Self restraint is a tough one...just ask Mr. Sampson. I've fished with him.
Curious to know how the salmon are making out on Newfound and the other lightly stocked lakes. I have fished Newfound alot in the past and rarely catch salmon.Stocking 25k a year in winni and 500 a year in Newfound, would be interesting to see the comparison in fish quality, health and hook wounds.
Come on Russ and F&G. Have you never released a single hooked fish vs. a treble hooked fish. There's a HUGE difference IMO.
Rarely does the treble hook only have one hook embedded. And after you get one of the hooks released and you're working on the second one, the fish wiggles and your released hook gets embedded a second time.
All this time the fish is out of the water and handled a lot more than just releasing a single hook.
I don't believe that single hooks get swallowed deeper than treble hooks-at least that's not my experience.
Treble hooks HAVE to cause much more severe hook wounding than single hooks IMO.
Amen Cal. My thoughts on treble hooks, exactly. I believe NHF&G's position is that they don't have evidence or maybe data to support that. Perhaps because, in a netting survey it is impossible to determine what kind of hook did the damage. If I had to guess, I would say the anglers among F&G would tend to agree with you.
That was not my opinion, that was a stated opinion from F&G that was based on facts, as I reported. In truth, I haven't fished as extensively with singles to have an opinion. But I did ask another expert opinion who has fished singles hooks and their response was that there is no easy answer, singles represented yet another problem when catching shorts, potential lethal hooking. I think it still remains the intent of most if not all of us to be as conscientious as possible. If it isn't, it should be. I know that the folks I speak with all intend to swap to single hooks. Obviously, I will develop my own opinion soon enough. But I will be very mindful of both of the expert opinions I have solicited when I develop my own.
And we all know that practicing careful catch and release, keeping the injured only and releasing all healthy, rubber nets, etc, to name only a few will go a long way in the conservation of our fishery.
Tight lines all, the season is upon us. Good fishing!