Im not a very knowledgeable fisherman. I learn new bits and pieces about fishing as they come to me. I usually learn the hard way. Let me tell yall what I recently learned. I took my Wife, my 4 year old, & 6 year old girls out to Hillsdale Lake. My boat was running great, the weather was 78 and mostly sunny, late afternoon, it was supposed to be a short trip, My kids have the attention span of a 4 & 6 year old for some reason. We tied up to some trees. 25 feet of water, We were going to try to get some crappie. My wife caught a 10.5 inch white crappie, My 6 year old daughter caught her first fish ever, a 11 inch white crappie. My 4 year old little girl brought her pink plastic Barbie fishing pole. I thought it was just a toy, but it has a spincast reel and what looks to be 4lb test on it. So, I tied on a #1 aberdeen and with a small minnow on it, 20 minutes later, she has a crappie, her first fish ever. She was SOOO excited. I was very happy for her. The crappie had swallowed the hook pretty deep, & I was trying to get it out, but I was not having any luck. After too much time, I gave up, left the hook in, & cut the line. I finally got around to measuring the fish guess what.. 9.5 inches. The Minimum length for crappie at Hillsdale lake is 10 inches. I knew the fish had been out of the water too long and it went through too much with me trying to remove the hook it swallowed. I knew it would not survive if I threw it back. Plus, Id have to contend with two little girls watching it float on the surface of the lake. SO, I threw it in the live well with the two other keepers. Fast forward 1 hour. Were loading up at the boat at the ramp, When, (Drum Roll Please) here comes the KDWP Officer. Do you have any fish on board? Yes Sir, three crappies. What do you use to measure them with? I show him the plastic ruler. Well, lets see them. I open up the live well.. floating on top is the crappie my 4 year old caught, obviously dead. Measure that one for me. It measures 9.5 inches.. I start to explain that its my 4 year olds first fish. He grabs his citation / ticket pad . I tell him she caught it with her Barbie fishing pole.. I tell him it swallowed the hook and that it I knew it wasnt going to survive if I threw it back I showed him the swallowed hook.. he says: THAT DOES NOT MATTER. EVEN IF YOU KNOW ITS NOT GONNA SURVIVE, IF ITS UNDER 10 YOU GOT TO THROW IT BACK. I though for sure he was going to write me a ticket. But he didnt. (Heres the education part of the story) He said, next time measure as soon as you get it out of the water. If its under 10, and its swallowed the hook, immediately cut the line as close to the mouth as possible and throw it back, and it should survive. He had me measure the other two, they were over 10. I had my license, my wife had hers (just bought that afternoon). He let me go. I usually learn the hard way.