Flathead Catfish regulations, do they need a change?

Discussion in 'LOCAL OHIO TALK' started by chasethecat, Mar 1, 2009.

  1. chasethecat

    chasethecat New Member

    Messages:
    65
    State:
    Toledo, Ohio
    I'm wondering what the BOC ohio membership thinks about the current regulations which allow anglers to keep 1 flathead over 35". In my opinion our fishery would be better served by a slot limit that would allow anglers to keep a flathead under a certain number of inches or over a certain number of inches. I'm thinking something like a slot of 30-50"'s. Then no fish between 30-50 inches could be harvested. The logic of a slot limit is to protect the spawning mature population while allowing anglers to harvest juvenile and/or "elderly" fish. From my experience with slot limits on lake trout on lake ontario the idea is that big big fish are not as successful at spawning, have less years of life (spawning) left in them, and are desired by anglers primarily for taxidermy purposes. Thus, with the slot limit the main spawning population is preserved, but anglers can still keep "unders" for the table or "overs" b/c 1) its not in the interest of fishing for the state to tell anglers they can't keep the fish of a lifetime and 2) these larger fish have already done their part in continuing the species and are approaching death via natural causes so their harvest is less detrimental to the species as a whole than smaller but mature fish. IMO our current regulations promote releasing flatheads (and blues) until they reach reproductive maturity and then harvesting them in their reproductive prime. I believe that these fish in their reproductive prime are the ones we need to preserve. Studies of other species have shown that the largest fish, even though they may hold the most eggs, are not as successful at spawning as fish in their prime. For example, a 26" walleye is more likely to spawn more successfully than a 32" one. I'm wondering what the rest of you think about this? we all know that catfish regulations are historically less thought out then regulations on bass, walleye, salmon, trout, etc... and IMO it seems that our current regulations are not very well thought out. m.
     
  2. andrew76

    andrew76 New Member

    Messages:
    457
    State:
    southwest ohio
    IN my op I wouldnt keep any flathead. if im after a dinner then I go after channel cat.
     

  3. chasethecat

    chasethecat New Member

    Messages:
    65
    State:
    Toledo, Ohio
    IMO i'm lucky enough to have plenty of walleye to eat and release all catfish, but regulations are not about controlling what the more responsible anglers do, but are intended to regulate those that have the "kill 'em all" mentality. and these types of anglers are out their and they are catching many flatheads. m.
     
  4. andrew76

    andrew76 New Member

    Messages:
    457
    State:
    southwest ohio
    Very very true mike.
     
  5. Netmanjack

    Netmanjack New Member

    Messages:
    3,734
    State:
    Ohio
    IMO I think that there is plenty being done. I don't by into the story that Flatheads are over looked. All of the species of fish in Ohio are important and kept track of. Do a Google search of Ohio fish studies and you will come up with hundreds of thousands of them from specie specific to water quality. The fishing regulations are not just arbitrarily picked out of a hat. Remember this, just because we don't know something is going on doesn't mean it isn't. lol :cool2:
     
  6. chasethecat

    chasethecat New Member

    Messages:
    65
    State:
    Toledo, Ohio
    Jack,
    good point. I just wanted to see what people thought. the limit being just one fish is proof itself that flatheads are being looked after. the word from the local DNR is that flathead fishing is rapidly becoming more popular around my parts (i am myself part of the new wave of flathead seekers around here) when i looked into the regs. my thought was that if the species is rare and sensitive enough that the limit is just one, then maybe the spawners should get a little extra protection. then again, maybe the DNR has determined this limit with the balance of the ecosystem in mind (don't want to many bass getting eaten...). i know that they do their homework, but they have also made mistakes in the past and their decisions are subject to political motivations. thats why i wanted to see what others thought on the subject (maybe i just need to find a way to think about something other than catfish for a few more weeks lol...). m.
     
  7. crazycat1

    crazycat1 New Member

    Messages:
    66
    State:
    Ohio
    I strongly believe that the regs are good how they are. The only changes I would make is to increase the limits in waters where the fish are deemed inedible due to mercury and other toxins in the water. I know that there are some people , such as myself, who enjoy releasing them into my personal 4 acre lake and catching them again from time to time.
     
  8. katkiller77

    katkiller77 New Member

    Messages:
    1,549
    State:
    dayton ohio
    flatheads are one of one the largest predatory fish in Ohio only the blue catfish, musky and striped bass can challenge for that title. I agree with the statement rick
     
  9. lendog

    lendog New Member

    Messages:
    2,141
    State:
    berks, PA
    you guys in ohio are lucky to have regs. on your flatheads, here in PA the only regs we have is a creel limit of 50, and the game commission still thinks that the flatheads shouldn't be returned to the water, due to it being an invasive species:confused2:
     
  10. Still_Waters...

    Still_Waters... New Member

    Messages:
    171
    State:
    Ohio
    Allright, here's my thoughts on this, and keep in mind folks that these are my own personal opinions based on things I have picked up over the years (even what little it may seem to some of you).... The large catfish don't really get nearly as much attention as they deserve, from what I can tell there were no regs at all last year on the Ohio side for blues, and when it comes to anything predatory, including flatheads, the way I see it is like this, if you want more big ones, get rid of some of the med-small ones, and if you want numbers instead of size get rid of more of the med-large ones, because unless you find a way to up the amount of food in the river the only real way to ensure that a large population gets large in size is to thin the heard, because they're all going to be fighting after a lot of the same food sources after they get about 10 lbs for the cats. This is the problem though, if you have a lot of large ones, you have to worry about certain things like the forage base, and how they're going to impact the popluations of sport fishies, (or bait :wink:) and if you have too many small ones then you have to worry about the size of the breeding population compaired to the amount of fish in the water eating up all the resources, it's a highwire act, you lean to far towards one side and everything comes tumbling down.I think the best thing would be to have a slot limit like said, and have people be able to take one and one, so that a few of the smaller fish get thinned out, and it would also allow those who are a little less sensitive about the idea of preserving a "trophy" fish to have thier mounts so that they can prove to the world they really did catch a fish like that... once. To me it would just allow more for a bell shaped curve of sorts, and promote the idea of more mid-sized breeders, and the way I see it that's the signature of all the best fisheries, a lot of good sized fish with the chance at a monster, if not right now then a few years down the road. I'm just letting you guys know now, go ahead and fire away at everything I just wrote, cause I'm always up for healpfull critisizm, escpecially if it leads me to learn something.
     
  11. chasethecat

    chasethecat New Member

    Messages:
    65
    State:
    Toledo, Ohio
    glad to see someone else agrees with the slot limit. thought i was gonna get blacklisted. as mentioned, guess we should be thankful to at least have regs. m.
     
  12. Desode

    Desode New Member

    Messages:
    185
    State:
    Ohio
    I think the regs are Ok right now. I wouldn't really have a problem if they used a slot limit,but I don't really think its needed right now. I talked to a ODNR guy last Saturday (Near Rayland Oh) when I was checking out some of my spots. He said that the Flathead population is doing really great right now. I asked him if there was anything the average guy could do to help and he said "Do the ohio fish pin program" .
    He said that most fisherman don't do it because they think of it as just something for kids but that is not its purpose.
    He said its main purpose is so that the ODNR can see what big fish are caught where and on what bait.
    He said its yet another important source of research data that the ODNR can use to keep a eye on things. I told him I never thought about it that way, so i'm going to start doing it this year.
    Matt AKA DESODE
     
  13. chasethecat

    chasethecat New Member

    Messages:
    65
    State:
    Toledo, Ohio
    that's cool, i guess i'll start sending mine in too, always figured it was just for the pin. m.
     
  14. beetle

    beetle New Member

    Messages:
    1,003
    State:
    Ohio
    Good post Mike! I agree 100% with your post and making some changes for catfish. Any changes they make or don't make will not please some people. To me the ODNR is making the same mistake with catfish that they are with deer. Yea Ohio ranks pretty high for trophies but I for one would be happier to fill a tag or catch a few fish when out, verses fishing or hunting and going home with nothing. There is no quicker way to turn off a person to the sport than to have them get nothing for their efforts.
     
  15. Still_Waters...

    Still_Waters... New Member

    Messages:
    171
    State:
    Ohio
    Thanks for the info Desode, I'll keep that in mind... and I think I'm going to have to let a few other people in on the info as well, maybe we can give them enough info on how things are going with the cats around here to actually give them a better idea of which direction they should take on preserving flats for future generations.


    The only reason that I personally think another look should be taken at flatheads is just because of how long it actually takes for one to get past the 20 pound range, it's just something that could easily get out of hand in my opinion, escpecially with a few nice cats making it into the regs in those nice color photos that are sure to get a few more people going after the big guys, but then again I tend to worry too much when I do worry, who knows, maybe I'm just making a mountain out of a mole hill here, but I must admit I am concerned on how things could end up, because if a mistake is made on how they handel the regs it'll take a long time to get things right again.