Confessions of a Catch and Release Angler
Was this going to be the first fish I’d harvested in 18 years? Was it big enough? Too big? You don’t want to keep something too big, a fish that would maybe not eat as well, and certainly not one that was vital to the gene pool of walleye in the area.
It was a male… should that matter?
All these things were going through my mind as I decided to paddle over to my fishing partner, and hand him the walleye. I have to admit I felt odd doing it. The rush of releasing a healthy fish back into its native waters was gone.
So it ended up being an experiment of sorts. As we were enjoying the walleyes we harvested that day, any real thoughts of regret slipped away. In the end, you could argue that my hesitation was silly, and that my fears of contamination were more an enabler… bolstering my desire to be exclusively a catch and release fisherman.
This of course isn’t to say that everyone should keep their fish. Or that anyone that keeps fish should harvest every single fish they catch. I think there’s a balance.
I’ll be more open to keeping fish in the future. Consuming what you’ve caught does complete an ancient circle: over the millennia, man had used tools to dominate the rest of nature. Initially, it was a matter of survival. Now, it’s a matter of personal preference, but one that has no right or wrongness to it, so long as we remain responsible stewards. And for the record, the walleye was fantastic
What do you keep, and why? I’m interested to hear your comments below.