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View Full Version : Keep em' little or big?



AtticaFish
01-02-2009, 04:16 PM
I fish many small lakes that have no size or keep limit, I could keep any and all I catch. I know for most game fish, they give a minium size and a certain number per day to keep, but have heard that you should release larger crappie that are of breeding age. For lrg mouth bass, I set my own limit of 5 fish 12" or bigger a year from each lake. For bass, by law, I could keep 5 each day!:eek: I like having some of these small reliable lakes (15-25 acres) that are close to my home and do not want to wipe them out.

What do you all think is better to take home or must be thrown back to keep the population up.

Cane Pole
01-02-2009, 04:28 PM
I fish many small lakes that have no size or keep limit, I could keep any and all I catch. I know for most game fish, they give a minium size and a certain number per day to keep, but have heard that you should release larger crappie that are of breeding age. For lrg mouth bass, I set my own limit of 5 fish 12" or bigger a year from each lake. For bass, by law, I could keep 5 each day!:eek: I like having some of these small reliable lakes (15-25 acres) that are close to my home and do not want to wipe them out.

What do you all think is better to take home or must be thrown back to keep the population up.


keep what you can eat. Sometimes I overstock. My wife cooks 'em up and gives em to the older folks in our neighborhood.

GrixxlyFish
01-02-2009, 04:55 PM
You know this can be a complicated discussion. You see keeping fish obviously leads to smaller fish populations, but this also gives the fish in the lake more food with less competition and thus increasing their size. A fish with to many crappie will have smaller crappie. That being said if you let the bigger ones go they will have more fry increasing the population of the lakes crappie. I personally would choose the smaller fish over the larger fish. It removes the competition from the larger crappie allowing them to get even bigger and they will return it with more eggs (if female) Some people feel though that they don't feel right killing something if they are not getting any meat off of it. What I say is as long as you are fallowing the laws go ahead and keep what you want to. DNR will always change the limits if numbers start to drop or increase.

fish_4_all
01-02-2009, 05:30 PM
I try to fish my own slot limits. Bass already have one state wide rules. Panfish I don't keep unless I can get enough meat off of them to eat them. Trout the same way if I can legally return them. I will admit I have fished a couple lakes here that were marked as overpopulated and I kept every single fish I caught. 1-300 perch from 4-8 inches will make a nice meal but boy did my wrists hurt when I finished filleting them.

Ocean fishing I will not keep a really big female lingcod, they are the future of the fish. Kelp green ling have to touch from one side to the other of a 5 gallon bucket but there is no size limit. Sea perch, if I am catching them in the spawn will be thrown back if the babies won't come out pretty much on their own.

I also will not target fish on spawning beds, crappie, bass or other. Not here anyway. Too easy to target and all I am doing is taking away the catch from 2 years from now.

The slot limit here for bass is purposed to allow for the majority of the fish to get to spawning size and protect them so they can spawn. Small fish are kept and over sized ones are kept. 5 bass can be kept, only bass under 12 inches and only 1 over 17 inches can be kept for that limit. It works here because bass grow slower in the colder water here. Some areas may need a higher slot size range.

Use your best judgment. Talk to DNR and ask them about the lakes, but don't give them names of them if you don't want to. Find out if it will benefit the lake if you were to catch 3-400 undersized perch a day for a while. Maybe the bass population is too high and needs the same thing. The best part of this sport is we can directly manage the fish if we are educated. Yeah they make rules for the lakes that are regulated but we can make a big difference in the ones that are not and possibly keep them off the radar so we can fish them in some what privacy.

slabbandit
01-02-2009, 11:23 PM
I would sure like to know what would be the best thing to do on our lake. Lake Nimrod ,Arkansas. 3500 acres. We have an overabundance of 8 inch or smaller crappie in our lake. I feel like I should remove 8 or 10 with my 20 fish limit when possible just to try to balance out the smaller and larger crappie. All the natural habitat has been long gone as the lake was constructed in the 40's.
Those that put in the time to build good habitat can still usually pull some impressive strings of slabs on a consistant basis. I don't really know what to do about it and would like to talk to a biologist for their opinion.
By the way...an old timer once told me a fact about keeping smaller crappie!
He said, " Did you know that a pound of little fillets weighs just the same as a pound of big fillets!";):)

AtticaFish
01-03-2009, 12:47 AM
My biggest concern is on a lake litteraly 2 minutes from my house that is 15 acres at most. Totaly unregulated, but I have seen maybe 3 people total targeting crappie in the past 12 years. It is one of those hidden gems, also caught my personal best large mouth there. Most of what I catch is 7"-9" crappie with biggest from the lake 12". Someone told me to go catch 100 of them and it will give others room to go. That seems to be what you all are saying as well. This past season I kept 30 crappie (exactly) and 4 bass.

cook
01-03-2009, 06:41 AM
Smaller lakes/ponds will become stunted if there is no harvest(generally)crappie more than bass.
On the other hand,those 12 inch crappie may be 2 years old....or 7....hard to tell without aging them-I would say keep whatever you feel comfortable with,sounds like it dosen't get much pressure,and its hard to stockpile fish-just don't give out the location to anyone that dosen't already know about it.

whiskerwhipper
01-03-2009, 03:26 PM
Same with bull bluegills. From what I learned the In-Fisherman gang, its best to keep the dinks and throw the big boys back because big fish will pass down their size genes down to the next generation. In term, they'll get big too. But my Pops is an old school meaning anything that bites the hook is fair stringer weight. When I threw back a 17 in slab in front of him, he had a Bill Bixby (hulk) moment.

SpeckWick
01-04-2009, 06:23 PM
I'm up in the air on which is best myself. I think the number of fish you keep can have a much bigger impact on the overall fishery than the size of the ones you keep. Unless it's a lake where you catch a boatload of fish every time out, but rarely get any size, then it may be an issue of overstocking where keeping some small ones could help. But, if you are the only one keeping small ones, how much impact will it really have anyway? I keep mostly 9"-12" fish and let all under 9" go, and most of the ones 13" or bigger as well. I've kept more 13" ers this winter than usual because, but still try not to do so. I think it's half selective harvest for the lake and half hoping those same fish are 14" come spring time and tournament season. If you look at the best crappie lakes in the country, there is a 10" or larger MINIMUM size limit on them AND a daily bag limit. You don't see any maximum size limits out there, so to follow the logic of the people who seem to know how to manage good crappie lakes, keep the big ones....Right? Here in Ohio, there is no statewide daily bag limit or size limit. A few lakes are restricted, but not most. I just don't keep the real big ones on my home lake. Not enough of them to go around. But as whiskerwhipper said, that way of thinking doesn't work with my old man either. He filleted a couple two pounders last month out of our home lake in the same day, and I can count on....well...NO HANDS how many two pounders I've caught out of this lake. A few 1.75 pounders of late though.

Michael D
01-04-2009, 08:17 PM
If all you catch is small ones and rarely catch any slabs, then it's time to do some thinning out. Crappie are so prolific, once they get overpopulated it is very difficult to get them back in check. If they get a stong hold in a small 15 acre lake, they will choke out everything else in that lake also. Some small lakes and ponds have to be completely killed off and re-stocked in order to get the fish back in balance. I would keep fish from a small lake or pond just to try to prevent the fish from becoming out of balance. I am not saying keep every fish everytime out, but a meal here and there can't hurt. I know of a few nice ponds that were great fisheries until the owners quit lettiing people keep a few fish or quit letting people fish all together. Now those ponds are just full of 4" bluegills and 6" crappies.

Perch Jerker35
01-05-2009, 06:10 PM
I like an 8incher now and then, but I think a 10" rule would suite nicely. 12" if you want.