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View Full Version : Keeping Crappie during Spawn thoughts.



dallas1
02-26-2012, 12:48 AM
To much time on my hands and was doing some thinking.
During the spawn do you catch and release or do you keep your limit.
I have never gave it much thought till now and was wondering what you guys thought was the right thing to do.

BIGG ANT
02-26-2012, 02:28 AM
If I really want to eat some crappie and I know for sure that I'll clean them when I get home....I'll keep a few. 95% of the time I catch and release during the spawn.

skeetbum
02-26-2012, 06:52 AM
depends on the status of the freezer. My thoughts are changing as I see the pressure put on different fisheries. Catch and release worked very well with the pressure increase on the largemouth. Slot limits have also worked very well for the Redfish and Snook, whose numbers were in serious trouble before these were in place. Commercial netters did the initial damage there, so bad that it was years before brood stock was replenished. I don't want to see us in trouble before we pay attention. You wouldn't shoot a deer if you wouldn't make use of it, this is no different. Can't grow big fish from small fish genetics. I know I'm in the minority on this but had to speak my peace.

kilnducks
02-26-2012, 08:30 AM
depends on the status of the freezer. My thoughts are changing as I see the pressure put on different fisheries. Catch and release worked very well with the pressure increase on the largemouth. Slot limits have also worked very well for the Redfish and Snook, whose numbers were in serious trouble before these were in place. Commercial netters did the initial damage there, so bad that it was years before brood stock was replenished. I don't want to see us in trouble before we pay attention. You wouldn't shoot a deer if you wouldn't make use of it, this is no different. Can't grow big fish from small fish genetics. I know I'm in the minority on this but had to speak my peace.


x2

gabowman
02-26-2012, 08:37 AM
I keep a few to eat and release the rest.

birddog one
02-26-2012, 08:40 AM
I never keep a limit any way catch and release durning the spawn. The bank fisherman hammer the fish and keep ever thing.

crappiedoc
02-26-2012, 09:06 AM
I never keep a limit any way catch and release durning the spawn. The bank fisherman hammer the fish and keep ever thing.

I'll agree, but also think why not? It's their time off year, plenty of bank fishers don't have access to fish all the time without a boat. I don't mind them keeping their quotas, crappie are prolific and can rebuild quickly with proper spawning habitat. HABITAT, it's the key to the whole cycle. Dwindling populations are the result of loss of habitat, directly or indirectly good structure will offset almost anything. Size of harvestable fish is another thing completely. Genetics has NOTHING to with size, remember Mother Nature plays a numbers game to ensure survival. For most of us with man made waters, crappies have captivated and utilized impoundments for their success and growth, allowing those slabs to prosper. Habitat and food supply produce big crappies, not pitching a 15" fish back to procreate. 8"-12" fish are the best fish for production of numbers.

tail chaser
02-26-2012, 10:33 AM
Here in Ohio, on Lake Erie, there is no limit on crappie & bluegills. Some of the inland lakes have limits accordingly. Michigan our neighbor state has a limit of 25 for panfish. When fishing the inlets of Lake Erie we try & keep so many for the table , & release the rest. Sometimes those big girls are oozing out eggs. Those will go back on my boat. I'm retired & can fish at will ,& don't have to have large numbers , & don't want to keep a lot of any type of fish for cleaning.

mepperson
02-26-2012, 11:11 AM
I never catch a limit but the one's I do catch, I usually keep because I love to eat them as much as catch them. I'm not hurting the population.....

duc hntr
02-26-2012, 11:24 AM
A fish Biologist once told me a number of panfish that needed to be taken out per acre, I dont remember the exact number but it was around 300 or 400 per acre, he told me that was to keep the population in check so they would grow bigger, with that being said we throw back females with eggs and most fish over 12" on the lake I fish there seems to be numerous fish 8 to 9" for table fare.

bdorman
02-26-2012, 11:25 AM
This will be my first spawn season. My plan is that if I can identify a female full of eggs I'll release her. In any case, I only keep 12"+ because it's not worth cleaning anything smaller. If I ever catch a whopper (16-17") I'll take his/her picture and then throw it back hoping to catch it another day.

Of course, now that the Jig Tying forum has turned me on to tying my own jigs I plan on catch a whole lot of 17"-ers. rotfl

Legato
02-26-2012, 12:10 PM
I keep pretty much everything I catch. Crappie have to be pretty small for me to throw back. Same goes for all fish I catch. During spawn or not.

-within legal limit of course.

lunkerhunter
02-26-2012, 03:54 PM
they taste too good smothered in grits to not keep a few. I always keep less than my limit and see no harm in it if they dont go to waste.. Habitat destruction will dimish a fish population baster than an armada of jig trollers ever could.

bfish
02-26-2012, 04:43 PM
As my knowledge and skills on how to catch them outside of the spawn have increased, along with TN implementing a 10" size limit and possession limits (x2 daily limit), I find myself keeping fewer and fewer during the spawn. Partly because I end up catching lots of short fish during the spawn, and partly because I know I can catch fish later on (or early on) so there is no "pressure" to harvest immediately.

shelldecoy
02-26-2012, 04:53 PM
I keeep a limit if I catch them . Not to worried about hurting the population on truman lake

dallas1
02-26-2012, 10:57 PM
if they of size that i can filet they go home with me as well. i was just curious what you guys thought. thanks for all the input.
Now i want to try crappie with grits lol i love crappie and i love grits sounds like a good combo.

NIMROD
02-26-2012, 11:32 PM
We have a huge spawn every year here and it helps to thin out the population. It is normal to catch as many as 100 to cull out a limit of 20. Crappie on fertile lakes tend top overpopulate unless fishermen take out a bunch or the predator fish are big and plentiful.

Lowellhturner
02-26-2012, 11:54 PM
As has been stated by others, crappies and especially bluegill left unchecked particularly on smaller bodies of water are EXTREMELY prolific. They TEND also to have a high "rate of recruitment", ie, as soon as an older larger 1 is removed there are usually several ready to compete for it`s place immediately. Loss or absence of habitate is a much BIGGER concern, but it is all but IMPOSSIBLE to seriously "hurt' their overall numbers. Quite the opposite; removing too many 1st tier predators that prey on them will cause their numbers to greatly increase and their average size to decrease. Short of depth charge "fishing", there shouldn`t be any long term effect from taking several limits during the spawn on most waters...enjoy !

throwback
02-27-2012, 11:11 AM
As has been stated by others, crappies and especially bluegill left unchecked particularly on smaller bodies of water are EXTREMELY prolific. They TEND also to have a high "rate of recruitment", ie, as soon as an older larger 1 is removed there are usually several ready to compete for it`s place immediately. Loss or absence of habitate is a much BIGGER concern, but it is all but IMPOSSIBLE to seriously "hurt' their overall numbers. Quite the opposite; removing too many 1st tier predators that prey on them will cause their numbers to greatly increase and their average size to decrease. Short of depth charge "fishing", there shouldn`t be any long term effect from taking several limits during the spawn on most waters...enjoy !

That is what everyone tells me here. The pond/lakes I live on/near are supposedly overpopulated with crappie, and only of couple of people that live out there fish for them (like me). About all you can catch are largemouth bass (I eat them too) and crappie. I clean and eat most all of them except ones too small to fillet.

BigKev77
02-27-2012, 11:17 AM
I look at it this way. If I keep a fish in November what is the difference in keeping a fish during the spawn. I am still taking a fish that would otherwise spawn. If I was worried about a fish spawning I would never keep a fish.

throwback
02-27-2012, 12:57 PM
I look at it this way. If I keep a fish in November what is the difference in keeping a fish during the spawn. I am still taking a fish that would otherwise spawn. If I was worried about a fish spawning I would never keep a fish.
This makes sense to me.

JTMavs
02-27-2012, 02:59 PM
I think it depends on a couple things. If the freezer is full, I throw em all back. If on one of my home lakes, I will throw back any White Crappie to try and help that population. If fishing a tournament, I will keep the fish alive and keep them if needed to eat, or see if someone else wants em. If not, they go back in the lake. My feeling is, if we keep what we need, we will be able to pass this great hobby onto generations to follow!

Blackdog40
02-27-2012, 05:44 PM
The really big crappie 14 plus are usually nearing the end of the life expectancy, and from what I have read and been told these gals have a lot more eggs but the fertility rate is low. The smaller fish 10 to 13 are more fertile and make more fry. So take your pick on this to keep or throw back.

Lowellhturner
02-27-2012, 09:43 PM
Just like everything else, crappie have a life span too. And while a few uncommon individual fish do live long enough to become state records, the chances of doing that for any 1 particular fish are at best rather bleak...my personal rule is if I don`t catch 3 worth keeping fairly quickly, put them back in.

bluethunder
02-27-2012, 11:33 PM
I throw back most of the small ones. I like to keep 2 or 3 because my daddy is up in age but still likes a whole fryer or two. Eggs or not, I keep my fish. I can say that I'm not hurting the population, but if everyone says that then we might actually be hurting it. I love to eat them and we don't waste them. The lakes I fish don't seem to be hurting for numbers. Good luck to ya'll.

Crappie Reaper
02-28-2012, 07:38 AM
I fish Oologah here in Oklahoma. The Crappie are thick and the shad are thicker. It would take a lot of Crappie.comers to deplete the amount of fish in this lake. Would love for a lot of people who like the 8" to 9" fish to come catch a bunch of them and take them home. State limit of 37 with no minimum length. Most the people I know use a self imposed 10" minimum. I'll keep and clean the fish I catch most of the time unless it's been a slow day and there's not enough to make it worth getting my hands dirty at the end of the day. Guts go to the gulls, coons and cats. On Oologah, for every 10 big fish that get caught during the spawn, there's probably 80 that make it through to spawn another day. Forage and habitat have a lot to do with it. There are plenty of diehards that spend a lot of time building brushpiles along with the Corp sponsored "Brush pile day" once a year which has been known to drop over 100 big piles in a single day.

Here on Oologah, the Corp of Engineers folks are very Crappie friendly along with very involved with the people that use the lake. They also sponsor Special Hunts for the handicapped. I tip my hat to them!

15slabs
02-28-2012, 07:39 AM
I think it depends on a couple things. If the freezer is full, I throw em all back. If on one of my home lakes, I will throw back any White Crappie to try and help that population. If fishing a tournament, I will keep the fish alive and keep them if needed to eat, or see if someone else wants em. If not, they go back in the lake. My feeling is, if we keep what we need, we will be able to pass this great hobby onto generations to follow!
These are my thoughts exactly.

CrappiePappy
02-28-2012, 08:55 AM
That is what everyone tells me here. The pond/lakes I live on/near are supposedly overpopulated with crappie, and only of couple of people that live out there fish for them (like me). About all you can catch are largemouth bass (I eat them too) and crappie. I clean and eat most all of them except ones too small to fillet.

throwback ... depending on what other fish are present in these lakes, you may be hurting the Crappie by catching & keeping the larger Bass. They may be the top predator, and as such are helping keep the Crappie numbers in check ... which keeps the Crappie from overpopulating & becoming stunted. I would put a minimum size limit on the Bass I kept, at say nothing over 14" kept.

If these lakes/ponds are stocked frequently, they're likely stocked with smaller fish. That being the case, and seeing as how they're even stocking them to begin with, it would appear that they're doing so for a "put & take" scenario, and not specifically monitoring & managing the lakes for size.

... cp :cool:

Eager Beaver
02-28-2012, 02:53 PM
This will be my first spawn season. My plan is that if I can identify a female full of eggs I'll release her. In any case, I only keep 12"+ because it's not worth cleaning anything smaller. If I ever catch a whopper (16-17") I'll take his/her picture and then throw it back hoping to catch it another day.

Of course, now that the Jig Tying forum has turned me on to tying my own jigs I plan on catch a whole lot of 17"-ers. rotfl

You just wasted a fine table fare. In Il. that fish was probably close to the end of her life span. Combine that with the stress you put her through by catching her. She may pass away in a day or two. I have seen a lot of big fish that died from old age. It is a shame to not keep them and enjoy them. EB

Eager Beaver
02-28-2012, 03:19 PM
That is why there are size and # limits on certain lakes. They take creel counts and check to see how the fish are handling the fishing pressure. On my home lake this year or last year I should say they cut the limit in half. We can only keep 15- 10in Crappie now. They want the bigger fish taken out so the smaller ones have a change to get to a decent size. EB

hnd
02-28-2012, 03:27 PM
around here in nw illinois, it seems not enough people are keeping crappies over the years. therefore, we have overpopulated bodies of water where you are catching 20-30 crappies before you find a non stunted dink that may be over 9".

we release crappies over 14" but keep all 8-13" ers. the guys at work love them and we'll have fish frys at work every month or so.

throwback
02-28-2012, 09:33 PM
[QUOTE=crappiepappy;1821004]throwback ... depending on what other fish are present in these lakes, you may be hurting the Crappie by catching & keeping the larger Bass. They may be the top predator, and as such are helping keep the Crappie numbers in check ... which keeps the Crappie from overpopulating & becoming stunted. I would put a minimum size limit on the Bass I kept, at say nothing over 14" kept.
/QUOTE]

Good point. Most of the bass are pretty small though, 12" and under. There are some lunkers in there as well (over 10 lbs). I haven't kept any of the larger bass b/c they are not as good to eat as the smaller ones. I'll make sure to leave the bigger ones in there. Thanks.

Bronson
02-28-2012, 10:12 PM
Seems like this came up last year. I defer to P. Rister, the wildlife biologist who said we weren't hurting crappie by taking some to eat. He even mentioned the bigger females weren't as productive as younger fish. Some people seem to think they have superior genetics and that might be true for some. I'm inclined to believe most of our crappie in our healthy lakes will get huge if they live long enough.

At the same time, I've thrown back some good ones, especially when it's not enough to make a meal. Don't believe in killing anything that I'm not going to use. I don't know about the rest of you but I'm finding the older I get, the harder it is for me to kill anything. I still do it, but it's because I love to deer hunt & eating venizon. I love crappie & good bluegill & shellcracker too. There a lot of fun and great on the plate. I just try to make sure they don't have to suffer anymore than they have too.